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Data lifecycle management (DLM) is a key part of every successful digital transformation strategy. Find out how your organisation should handle the DLM challenge.
I'll give you a clue: It has to follow your data from cradle to grave.
An effective digital transformation strategy should be developed alongside a solid data lifecycle management (DLM) plan.
What does DLM really mean?
Data lifecycle management ensures that organisations understand, inventory, map, and control their data along every stage of its lifecycle, from creation or acquisition, through all of its modifications to retirement or deletion.
According to NHS Digital, "collecting data doesn't, by itself, improve anything. It needs to be part of a system. We've adopted a data lifecycle model to illustrate this. We are at the heart of the system, working with partners to make sure we use data effectively."
NHS Digital has identified five steps in its data lifecycle model: collect, assemble, analyse and interpret, distribute, and change.
In its own guide to digital transformation, Iron Mountain offers more insight into the strategy side of DLM: "A data lifecycle management strategy is about creating and executing a plan to protect, preserve and manage digital data at each stage of its lifecycle, from creation through destruction as informed by a Records Retention schedule."
So, how to get started?
It's no small feat to develop and implement a viable DLM plan, let alone incorporate it into your wider digital transformation strategy.
Where should you begin?
Consider these initial questions to help you jump-start your strategy:
Admittedly, such questions may just be the tip of the DLM iceberg. Your questions might even lead to unexpected answers, like the need to perform further data migration or data tiering to other media. Or, they might highlight the need for some type of data restoration.
The reasons for data migration may also differ. One organisation might need to move their data to other media to facilitate access, restoration or extraction of new insights for greater value. Another organisation might need to move some types of data to make it more secure and more compliant with new regulations. Still another organisation might need to migrate data to other media to lower the costs of backup, disaster recovery or long-term archiving.
Whatever your answers to these DLM questions, one thing will become clear: Developing a viable DLM plan is a hefty and complex task.
Depending on your organisation's expertise in the area of records and information management (RIM), it may make sense to get help from experts who know about emerging DLM best practices and how best to integrate those into a digital transformation strategy.
It may also be time to explore outsourcing any potentially overwhelming or time-intensive projects associated with larger data migration, data restoration, governance or data management.