Is THIS in Your Digital Transformation Strategy? (It Should Be)

Michele Hope

With digital transformation, organizations are on a journey to remake themselves these days. But, what do many routinely forget when devising a digital transformation strategy?

I’ll give you one 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.

DLM, Defined

What does DLM mean, exactly?

According to the Office of the National Coordinator for Health Information Technology, data lifecycle management “ensures that the organization understands, inventories, maps, and controls its data, as it is created and modified through business processes throughout the data lifecycle, from creation or acquisition to retirement.”

The strategy side of DLM is also crucial to successfully achieving digital transformation. This means creating and executing a plan to protect, preserve and manage digital data at each stage of its lifecycle, from the creation of that data to the secure destruction of that data according to the records retention schedule in place.

Okay. Now, what?

Getting Started With DLM

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:

  • To what extent is the organization embracing digital transformation, including extracting value from data?
  • What are current gaps in data storage and management?
  • Is any critical information isolated in silos?
  • Is data being properly tagged and generated at the point of creation?
  • What is the budget for data storage, including backup, archiving and replication? Will that budget shrink, grow or remain constant?

Getting Answers

Admittedly, such questions may just be the tip of the DLM iceberg. Your questions may even lead to unexpected answers, such as the need to perform further data migration or data tiering to other media. Or, they may highlight the need for some type of data restoration.

The purposes of data migration may also differ. One organization might need to move their data to other media to facilitate access, restoration or extraction of new insights for greater value. Another organization might need to move some types of data to make it more secure and more compliant with new regulations. Still another organization might need to migrate data to other media to lower the costs of backup, DR or long-term archiving.

A Job for the Experts

Whatever answers you receive to your DLM questions, one thing is clear: Developing a viable DLM plan isn’t for the faint of heart.

Depending on your organization’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.

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