What You Can Do With “Records”

Some questions about your taxes:

  • Do you file a tax return?
  • Do you make a copy of that tax return?
  • Do you put that copy into a filing cabinet or some other place where you’ll be able to find it quickly?
  • Do you pull that copy out of the filing cabinet and shred it after 30 days instead of keeping it for the next several years?

Hopefully, your answers are Yes, Yes, Yes and No. If that’s the case, you already get the concept of Archiving 1.0 because you’ve a) determined what constitutes an important record, b) you understand the importance of making a copy of it, c) you know that you need to have it readily available in the future, and d) you realize that you have to keep important records for a long time.

That’s where Archiving 1.0 pretty much ends: making copies of important stuff, putting it away for long periods, and being able to find it when needed. But what’s next — what many are calling Archiving 2.0? Consider those multiple years of tax returns for a moment. They include records of your earnings, deductions and other important information that you need to defend yourself in case you’re audited by your tax authority, apply for a loan, or otherwise need to prove how much you earn and deduct each year. But they also contain lots of other information — data on those you support, where you spend your money,  how much you invest, your financial gains and losses, how your income changes each year, charities to which you donate, the amount you pay in property taxes, who you employ to do your taxes, changes in your family structure, and a great deal of other information that would allow someone to understand your decision-making, your success in business, the nature of your key relationships, etc.

Now, think about Archiving 2.0 in the context of your business. Let’s say that you archive just your corporate email. Doing so would preserve all of the business records sent and received through email that you might need to defend yourself to satisfy your Archiving 1.0 obligations. However, here’s what else it would contain:

  • Every customer inquiry delivered through email, who responded to it, the amount of time that it took to respond, the customer’s response in return, and whether or not the inquiry was resolved to the customer’s satisfaction.
  • Every prospect inquiry delivered through email and how it was satisfied (or not).
  • What managers tell employees in email.
  • What employees tell each other in email.
  • How employees deal with sensitive information.
  • Information about rumors that might be spreading in the company.
  • How employees are using corporate email after hours.
  • The recipients of every email and attachment sent through email, including information that was sent to competitors.
  • Information about employees that might be considering or committing fraud.
  • How people in your company interact with one another.
  • The actual management hierarchy in your company that may or may not coincide with your org chart.

This is just the tip of the iceberg in terms of what you might be able to do with this information given the right archiving platform, the right analytics tools, and the ability to sell management on the idea that your information archives contain a wealth of untapped information about your company that won’t be available anywhere else. Now, add in other data types, such as social media posts, instant messages, voicemails, collaborative session discussions, files, etc. and dramatically more information is now available for investigations, analysis of customer interactions, employee behavior, helping employees find the expertise they need, and building better connections between your employees, business partners, customers, prospects and others.

We’re about to produce a white paper on this topic, including an in-depth survey of where organizations are going with Archiving 2.0. We’ll report back on the key findings when they’re available.