It’s hard to find a business that isn’t collecting, analyzing, and processing huge amounts of data to inform and influence decision making. Because big data is so critical to how a business operates, it’s equally important to understand how this information is handled and what procedures are being used to manage the lifecycle of data.
This is where data lifecycle management comes into play. Put simply, data lifecycle management refers to a process that helps manage the flow of data from inception to destruction. While there are many interpretations of data lifecycle management depending on the business, we’ll dive into the core principles of the process here.
Everything starts when data is created or captured. This can come in any form, from a simple image, a PDF file, a document, or even SQL database data. In any organization, a piece of information is created in one of three ways:
- Data Acquisition – In this scenario, data already exists somewhere outside of the organization and is only acquired.
- Data Entry – Data can also be obtained through manual entry into a system by personnel within the organization.
- Data Capture – Capturing data can be done using a variety of tools and devices in a particular process within the organization.
This can be a challenging first step in the life cycle given that information is coming from multiple disparate sources. However, the right platform and tools can make this process much more streamlined. At Gemini, we’ve created one platform that allows you to manage all of your data source nodes in one place, eliminating the need for an army of IT staff and data scientists to help you create your data.
Once data has been created, you have to find a way to properly store and file it. There are many systems, programs, and software on the market to help with this and it’s just a matter of finding what meets your business’s needs. At this stage, it’s important to ensure that your data is well protected with the appropriate level of security. It’s also recommended to conduct regular data backups and have a recovery process in place in case you need to restore any lost data and to avoid losing any crucial pieces of information that could compromise your customers, clients, or your business.
Now we’ve come to the fun part of the data lifecycle: using it! Data can be viewed, processed, modified, visualized, and contextualized at this stage. This is the stage where your data starts to work for you and reveal insights that can help with decision making, strategy setting, and reaching goals. At Gemini, we refer to it as “connecting the dots” – the previous stage of creation, along with analysis, allows you to construct a connected view of your business to transform data into stories.
It’s recommended that whatever system you have in place for storing and retrieving data also has an audit trail available for all critical pieces of information. This lets you see who accessed the data, when it was accessed, and how it was used. You can also ensure that all modifications to the data are fully traceable. Depending on the nature of the data, it can also be used by others outside of the organization, such as offshore teams or third-party outsourcing partners.
Not all pieces of data are needed at all times. That’s why there comes a phase in the data lifecycle where inactive data is moved out of production systems into long-term storage systems. Archived data isn’t mixed with information that’s used in your company’s day-to-day operations. They are stored in an environment where no maintenance or general usage occurs. This keeps your active data and inactive data separate, minimizing confusion or inaccuracies.
As more pieces of information are created and captured at an increasing rate, it would be a futile attempt to try and store everything forever, especially if you’re dealing with terabytes of data every minute. Storage cost and compliance issues will hinder you from doing this, which is why destroying data that’s no longer needed is important. However, depending on the industry your business is in, you’ll want to make sure that this phase isn’t carried out until the information has exceeded its required regulatory retention period.
In today’s world, data is king, and understanding the data lifecycle management process is crucial to establishing a systematic way of handling large volumes of data. From creation to storage to usage and beyond, having a clearly defined and documented data lifecycle management process will ensure your business is effectively (and efficiently) handling its data.
Gemini Data is your partner when it comes to solving the biggest data challenges you may face in your organization. When you work with us, you can get instant business context in one platform – making it easy and streamlined to leverage the power of your data. Contact us today to learn more about how you can from data to insights in no time.