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In my last Why might you need Information Lifecycle Management? I briefly touched on Macro 4’s research into attitudes to Information Lifecycle Management (ILM) among UK SAP customers. In this post I want to dig a little deeper into some of the findings of that survey – in which we questioned 177 SAP user organizations.

The first point to bring up is that more than half (55 per cent) of the sample reveal they are considering introducing an ILM strategy within the next three years. So there’s likely to be a lot of interest in the SAP NetWeaver® Information Lifecycle Management software which supports ILM for SAP implementations.

Cost reduction is No. 1 ILM driver

So why all the interest in ILM? It’s probably not a big surprise in the current economic climate that cost reduction was the top reason. In fact, an overwhelming 100 per cent of our survey sample cited storage cost reduction as a driver for implementing ILM.  

ILM is recognized as a strategy for helping organizations to manage large volumes of data cost-effectively over the long term. Older data and documents that aren’t needed day-to-day are removed from the live SAP database and are then automatically compressed and transferred to an online archive that uses much lower cost disk storage.

And it’s not just the cost of the physical hard disk that will reduce. There’s also a big saving in disk storage management costs. This can be very significant - IT industry analyst firm Gartner estimates that the administration costs for managing one terabyte of hard disk are five to seven times higher than the actual cost of the disk itself.

One point worth noting: while data is moved off the live SAP database it is still very much available to users, directly from their familiar, live SAP applications. So, for example, a query might return both live and archived data on the same screen – the only difference being that the archived data is read only. The archived data is secure and tamper-proof and can be kept for as long as required and then automatically destroyed in line with retention policies and compliance obligations.

Keeping your database trim and healthy to boost performance

Almost as big a driver as cost reduction are the performance benefits of introducing ILM – cited by 91 per cent of the survey respondents. By taking older, less frequently accessed data out of the live system, ILM helps you keep the SAP database trim and healthy. With less data to process, you help the system perform at its best, keeping end user response times, batch runs and restores from backup as fast as possible.

Addressing the legacy system challenge

59 per cent of users in our survey said they would consider ILM because of the help it provides with consolidating and decommissioning legacy systems.

Over the years, many SAP customers have moved to integrated, enterprise-wide SAP applications but find they are still expending considerable effort maintaining multiple divisional or regional SAP systems – because they still need to keep the historical data available. For the same reason, many organizations keep running older, non-SAP legacy systems. In either case the costs, in terms of hardware and software maintenance and support, can be significant.  

One of the important benefits of SAP NetWeaver Information Lifecycle Management is that it allows you to safely and cost-effectively decommission both SAP and non-SAP legacy systems. You retain easy access to the older data, while the original applications can be shut down to free up resources.

Compliance and legal pressures

In addition to the key drivers I’ve highlighted above, my previous Why might you need Information Lifecycle Management? goes into some detail about how ILM can help with regulatory and legal compliance requirements for business data.

At Macro 4 we work with organizations who want to use ILM or archiving strategies to address their SAP data and document challenges. So please do leave a comment to explain your organization’s experience of either of these areas.