The influential ITC consulting group, Gardner Inc., estimate that more than 80% of stored files are never looked at, nevertheless they use up space, whether it’s on pc disk or any other storage space. Consider your own computer in your house having used it for 4-5 years and observe how many files have been created and how many you make use of and you will possibly agree with the above statement. Now multiply this number with 175 or how many PC’s are installed in your company, or the quantity and size of file hosts installed, and you will quickly realise the need for efficient archive file storage.
Some other claimed stats indicate a similarly dark picture in that a lot less than 30% of all files stored are less than 24 months old – the rest are older. Of the current space allocated to file storage no more than 5% are high usage files, 8% are hardly ever utilized and the balance is extra space. Plainly there must be a more storage effective and cost effective way of storing ‘old’ information. The challenge of course is, that you can’t simply scrub those files as legislation requires a company to archive file for a certain period and there basically may be some files that may become appropriate again in the future. Imagine the volumes of stored data in a government department like the dept. of Justice or a huge hospital, like Baragwaneth hospital, or even worse SARS?
There are 2 elements to regulate and achieve archive file storage, namely: a records management policy plus a document processing system. Record management policies will determine the procedure whereby records are created, maintained and used by authorised personnel. It will further determine how and when records are stored and how and when they are responsibly removed. The second aspect necessitates the implementation of the policies and a document management system (DMS) that will take care of the physical handling of the documents as outlined by the policies and variables set by the operation. DMS should handle all kinds of documents, like electronic documents e.g. Microsoft Office documents, Adobe documents and other document formats in addition to unstructured documents like faxes, photographs, mail communications, etc. This kind of system will quickly create an archive file as outlined by the parameters set and manage the file, even when it is placed off line. Making any information and facts available is another essential element of the DMS. Consider that people may spend up to 50% of their time trying to find records and only 10% reading it.
An aspect to take into consideration is the cost to archive file storage. Whatever strategy is employed has a cost to it and, naturally, if you have massive volumes of documents to be stored, the cost increase dramatically. At one point in time, however, DMS will need to be implemented and a final decision to be taken on the archiving of old documents – are they to be captured on the DMS system or to be placed off line, but monitored on…