Coming in at number four on my list for 2008 is “Unified Information Management.” In context with many other elements of IT and communications today, we have developed a myriad of strategies for managing our information. Many of these have evolved with individual deployment of applications. At the time, it made sense to deploy separate information management strategies because the information used by applications was largely silo’d, and the data management costs were allocated to individual applications.
The communications market is going through a similar transformation. At one time companies viewed voice, video, email, and data communications as completely separate elements with little synergy or leverage to be gained (or possible) from unification. Today, however, these communication elements are coming together in a way that can drive both increased productivity as well as reduced cost.
From the standpoint of information, we can see a similar dynamic happening. Applications are no longer silo’d, they are connected and “mashed up” to support more advanced capabilities. The data itself is now shared across applications. Additionally, there are more and more regulations governing the security, protection, and retention of information. Welcome to Web 2.0.
So, what looked like a good idea at the time (application-specific information management) is now actually hurting a company’s ability and effectiveness for managing information properly.
Unified information management is simple. Companies will build a single intelligent infrastructure platform to protect, secure, and manage information. These information infrastructures will support all applications across the IT environment. A similar analogy holds true for even our personal data. While we may have different requirements for our application data (music, photos, records) I would still prefer a single infrastructure for all of my data. This infrastructure will have all of the necessary capabilities like backup and ILM; these capabilities will be deployed based on policies that insure the proper levels of protection and security.