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Posted by Brian Hill on October 27, 2009
IBM’s announcement this week outlining the vendor’s archiving vision and strategy is ambitious and far reaching in scope. It’s encouraging to see IBM working across its different internal divisions to deliver solutions that address specific enterprise needs (e.g., message archiving, file system archiving, and SharePoint archiving) while providing a framework and a set of capabilities for broader enterprise archiving.
My initial feedback on IBM’s strategic announcements is positive. Here’s why:
IBM also announced InfoSphere Content Assessment, a content analytics offering which will enable organizations to assess unmanaged content. With this new product, IBM will help organizations better understand unmanaged content and identify high value content subject to retention management or legal risk mitigation objectives. The offering will also help organizations identify unnecessary content eligible for deletion, supporting the ability to ease storage burdens and improve application performance.
In considering IBM’s strategic approach, however, enterprises should be clear that technology alone won’t translate to success with archiving objectives. Regardless of the deployment model, effective archiving requires early engagement with internal process experts and enterprise end users, in addition to IT and legal stakeholders. Careful change management efforts in conjunction with well-considered plans for retention policies, information architecture, and training, along with workflow and technology integration with records management and eDiscovery applications all play a critical role.
From my standpoint, the vision that IBM outlines in this announcement is strategically compelling. Across its services, software, and hardware assets, IBM has an extensive archiving portfolio. IBM’s archiving customers are today capturing significant storage savings, operational efficiencies, and legal risk mitigation benefits. It’s encouraging to see these assets and IBM’s messaging coming together in the same direction.
In telling this story though, IBM will need to make sure that it doesn’t go overboard in pitching this extensive vision. With varying needs to understand how it fits into the “big picture,” enterprise customers buy archiving technology and services to meet concrete objectives. Overall, it’s clear that aligning IBM archiving and supporting portfolio capabilities holds significant promise for enterprise value. A good set of IBM reference customers (who are holistically using a variety of the offerings described in IBM’s announcement) will go a long way in translating vendor vision to market reality and will play an important role in enterprise buying cycles.
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