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The Evolution of Records Management and Using Big Data Analytics Tools

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March 27, 2014

The Evolution of Records Management and Using Big Data Analytics Tools

By Daniel Brecht
Contributing Writer

In today’s business IT landscape, records management has created privacy, security, and data governance concerns for information managers. According to key business players in the industry, they are faced with rising concerns for regulatory and policy reasons. Saving and retrieving information appropriately and timely has become a necessity for all businesses that, in some cases, are trying to address all the challenges related to data management through the use of big data technology.

These days “companies [have opted] to use big data analytics tools to get real business benefits out of all the different types of information they’re collecting,” revealed Editorial Director Hannah Smalltree, in an interview with William McKnight, president of McKnight Consulting Group.

From the ‘big data analytics’ perspective, the process of examining large amounts of information presents challenges, in terms of curating, storing, and managing the content; at the very least, these data sources should be identified, documented, organized, processed, used and/or backed up, and stored in a database management system, relational or otherwise.

There are a lot of talks on content management, but only a few people are actually taking part in the big data revolution. Some have elected to use a business analytics platform, which allows the real-time analysis of data, enabling one to access and explore large volumes of complex and diverse data. Others only opt for software tools to capture, store, manage and analyze the datasets whose size is beyond the ability of typical databases.

Managing data is a key priority for businesses today. The proliferation of data, however, often creates a problem of over-retention; this is not always addressed by business records policies.  This creates the need for better data visibility, said Carol Stainbrook, executive director at Cohasset Associates in Minneapolis, who works with clients to construct records management policies. She expressed that from a records management or information governance standpoint, better awareness and analysis of a company's available information can help prevent the problems incurred by over-retention. Ms. Stainbrook encourages clients to focus on retaining information that supports business operations and not hold on to all information they might not need; over-retention of information may place an increase risk, in the event of a hack or breach, she explains.

It is paramount to store only relevant data for a relevant period; otherwise, researching information can become ineffective. Also, one of the biggest issues that organizations are facing with the voluminous amounts of unstructured and semi-structured data it creates is to mine all the data. The advice is to develop a data retention policy as part of a paradigm shift in data management for large-scale dataset collections; such a document should address and account for vast volumes of data that a business produces, stores and processes. Establishing a data retention policy for retaining information is important for operational or regulatory compliance as well as for meeting legal and business data archival requirements.

As per an In Business (Madison publication), “the key to creating a data retention policy is to tailor it to the business’s needs. There is no one-size-fits-all document.” For those wanting to establish one, “a data retention policy [ought to] consider both the value of data over time and regulations data may be subject to,” explained the TechTarget Storage Media Group in a post at

In terms of trying to produce the right policy, it may be best to focus on the ability of large data sets to yield results that outweigh the legal and privacy concerns, in addition to determining both the retention time, archival rules, data formats, and the permissible means of storage, access, and encryption, for instance. Overlapping policy areas may cover matters on growth and innovation, to add insight to the retention and management capabilities an organization may already have in place, disclosed a recent post on the website of; this is a source that provides IT and business professionals with a wide range of content management solutions.

The source estimates that big data and analytics could yield benefits that goes beyond visualizing and interacting with data with unprecedented ease, to include making critical decisions on where to ‘place data’: within a data center, or on to off-site servers (into the cloud).

In sum, organizations are turning to analytic tools to sort information. New big data technologies have addressed the challenges related to dealing with the large amounts of data that people are creating and have made an impact on improving their ability to analyze and consume that data. Regardless of the data source, analytic requirement or deployment environment, as part of their own effort to meet these needs, businesses are now taking steps in the right direction to meet the big data challenges that await them. They now see a real need for data management tools, using analytics to synthesize that data into information with meaning and value, quickly and cost effectively, Stainbrook said.

Edited by Cassandra Tucker

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