Businesses losing millions due to poor data archiving

While some businesses saw an increase in revenue of more than £6 million, others struggle mining big data archives, a new study has shown.

The landmark study “Mining for Insight: Rediscovering the Data Archive,” is an IDC white paper, announced and published today by Iron Mountain.

It shows that some organisations of all sizes and across various industries are drowning in data, unable to effectively mine their data archives for key insights that could ultimately improve business outcomes.

The research reveals that organisations with a well-defined data archive process stand to realise value from two potential avenues: cost savings and added revenue from monetising archives.

More than half of the organisations polled saved more than £640,000 over the past year, with the top 21 per cent saving more than £6.4 million, the study shows. That’s not all, 44 per cent of organisations saved more than £640,000 by reducing operational or capital costs.

New revenue streams have also been noticed. While 39 per cent of companies surveyed benefitted from an additional $1M (£640,000) or more in revenue, the top 15 gained more than $10 million (£6.4 million). On average, companies polled saw an additional $7.5 million (£4.8 million) in new revenue streams from their data archive.

Despite leaving money on the table, the majority of organisations – 76 per cent – believe they are already maximising the value of their archives, making data archiving a real blind spot for business leaders.

With only 38 per cent of companies using archives for business analysis, a critical process to drive additional revenue by better understanding markets, improving products and service delivery and better serving customers, it’s clear that the majority of respondents are not truly leveraging the power of their archive.

Of the 24 per cent of businesses that acknowledge they could be leveraging their archives more effectively, nearly three quarters believe they could be extracting two times or more value than they realise today, with more than a quarter believing they could gain five times or more value.

To help organisations bridge the disconnect between perception and reality, Iron Mountain and IDC recommend organisations implement the following processes:

  • Hire a Chief Data Officer to oversee and derive value from the data archive, while working closely with the Chief Operating and Chief Information Officers to set long-term business and data strategies.
  • Develop Information Maps of all data sources and repositories (and their value) across the organisation.
  • Implement a holistic, consistent archiving strategy that addresses data retention schedules, use cases, the value of data, necessary accessibility and archive costs.
  • Consider working with a third party vendor with specific expertise to help optimise your archiving solution while freeing up internal IT resources to focus on more strategic and innovative work.