The current generation of digital enterprise solutions is being built atop the previous one. Companies have spent a few generations relying on information technology, meaning there are old productivity apps going unused. This is how the march of progress works, but there is a serious drawback. Data saved in old formats and saved in silos related to disused applications may now be hard to find. The IT workers behind the projects involved may have left their respective companies over the years, adding yet another layer of distance. But what if a user today has to find that data?
Sprawling out of control
Data sprawl has become a pressing issue in recent years, driven by the increased affordability of storage hardware and software. Gathering and keeping information is easier than ever, and the fact that generations of applications are being built on top of one another could add another serious twist to this problem. IT departments could end up wasting time and money converting old data, eager to make it compatible with the current crop of software, only to find that something has gone wrong and the information is now inaccessible altogether. Alternately, the new options could themselves be replaced, leaving users at square one.
Even simple enterprise tasks have been passed between several program families on various operating systems over the years. Compare the computers present in offices in the 1980s to the complex systems that power companies today and the difference becomes obvious at once. Some data silos have simply been left behind by the march of time. Of course, the historical data in those systems may be very important for current projects or even relevant to a request for data due to ongoing legal action. In those cases, IT leaders will need a way to go back and unlock the information.
The simple answer
Condensing generations of data into a single architecture is a strong idea. How companies go about this is the key. The idea of converting everything into the format of the day could be a temporary patch and require a renewal every few years. Physical data migration is costly, labor-intensive and puts content at constant risk of damage. Virtual data migration can provide a better model. With ViaWorks by VirtualWorks, for example, users can easily search for anything they need, even if information is contained within the body of an image document. With no conversion needed, gaining access to documents from throughout the years is now possible.