The data storage market has expanded to include a wide range of technologies generically known as ECM, Enterprise Content Management. Comprising of the technologies for the capture, management, preservation, and delivery of data in a variety of forms to support business processes. ECM, and ILM, has become important due to the wave of legislation in all major markets emphasising the need to keep and use information in respect of legal requirements. Whether financial, as in the Sarbanes-Oxley act, or recording who and how of personal data use for the data protection act, it boils down to moving from storage of data from applications outputs, a comparatively ‘unstructured’ approach to a ‘structured’ approach where data is seen in context to processes and therefore can be defined as ‘information’. Content merely opens up the term to include multi-media aspects being able to be indexed and used irrespective of the format as contextual data. Thus as the business becomes more reliant on technology, using more and more forms of content to suit the business requirements so the complexity of the CIOs job in understanding how to handle the results becomes more complicated.
The CEO and CFO are not too concerned with these complexities, but they have to be very concerned with being personally concerned with the results. Sarbanes-Oxley, as an example, makes it very clear as to their duties in making sure that the three key elements, sections 302, 404 and 409, are adhered to. If not, then the act makes it very clear that they face going to prison as the punishment for failure, and they cannot escape the punishment by attempting to place the blame on others, including their CIO! Under this state of affairs can you, would you, leave the topic of data capture, indexing and storage to your CIO alone? Actually you are not allowed to as the Auditors have a duty to check that data and processes are in accordance with the act, and qualify the accounts accordingly. Against such a challenging background of technology, business and legislation change, CxO executives are finding the previously boring topic of storage worthy of careful study.