In a rapidly evolving digital landscape, companies are forced to manage large data volumes, conduct data archiving, and ensure legal compliance with regulatory requirements. But, without the right tools for the job, these companies can’t build an effective data management strategy, placing their most sensitive data at risk for error or mismanagement over time.

This is where SAP Information Lifecycle Management (SAP ILM) comes in.

With its well-defined data management policies and archived data functions, SAP Information Lifecycle Management (ILM) makes it easier for companies in any industry to manage their most important data and maintain legal compliance in the process.

This article will take a deeper dive into the key features, components, and capabilities of the SAP ILM solution, as well as where our team of expert SAP consultants can come in to help you make the most of your investments.

Read on to learn more!

What is SAP ILM?

SAP Information Lifecycle Management (ILM) is an automated data management solution designed to help companies support the complete lifecycle of their structured and unstructured data, control large data volumes across the enterprise, and maintain data quality in the process. SAP ILM allows users to manage the lifecycle of archive data along with live data.

With SAP Information Lifecycle Management functionality, users are enabled to streamline their IT infrastructure and conduct data archiving, making it easier to simplify system decommissioning processes for legacy data and systems and optimize data flows across teams for minimized risk and reduced overall costs.

The Three Pillars of SAP Information Lifecycle Management

SAP ILM functionality allows customers in any industry to streamline their entire IT infrastructure, automate data archiving and retention management functions, and protect privacy rights of their most important consumer data with a simplified, easy-to-use solution.

Here are the three main components of the SAP Information Lifecycle Management solution…

1) Data Management and Data Archiving

  • Manage large volumes of data across teams with greater efficiency
  • Emphasize efficient data management while keeping business context intact
  • Provide simplified access to archived data, even after the retention period has closed
  • Move outdated, legacy data from legacy systems to long-term, less expensive storage locations
  • Improve data security and accessibility with well-defined data locations and better data lifecycle management across the entire SAP ERP system

2) Retention Management

  • Support the full lifecycle of both structured and unstructured data across the SAP system
  • Address data lifecycle management up to the point of destruction and data archiving
  • Understand where data is stored and how long data is stored in specific locations
  • Outline data management policies and strategies to keep users on the same page
  • Leverage retention policy management and legal holds to control data retention
  • Determine when data can be destroyed without compromising the security and integrity of the data itself or the employees associated with it

3) System Decommissioning

  • Decommission legacy systems by moving data into a centralized ILM system (also known as a retention warehouse)
  • Offer on-demand data access and reporting functions across the entire SAP system
  • View and leverage data even after the old system has been decommissioned
  • Shut down outdated legacy data from legacy systems and bring all data sources from SAP and non-SAP systems together under one roof
  • Support different methods for tax and data reporting across decommissioned systems
  • Monitor retention management functions to ensure compliance with requirements associated with the storage of data across systems

Common Challenges Addressed with SAP ILM Solutions

Let’s take a closer look at a few common challenges associate with information lifecycle management (and addressed by SAP ILM)…

IT Landscape Complexity

As IT landscapes continue to grow, change, and add new complexities, maintaining multiple different systems, including legacy and redundant systems, can get a little complicated without the right tools, resources, or personnel for the job.

And, by continuing to operate outdated systems access old archive data files for auditing and litigation purposes, companies oftentimes waste valuable time and money on expensive hardware costs and specialized IT maintenance personnel.

Increased Litigations

In today’s world, companies are facing an increased demand to present more corporate information in courts during litigation, but for some businesses, the necessary data is stored in an old, forgotten area of the software and exists in a format that cannot be read by the company’s modern systems.

Because the data needed for litigation purposes is often outdated and not easily accessible, companies have trouble locating the necessary data in either the production system or the retention warehouse and protecting it from unauthorized access during the litigation process.

This can be costly, time consuming, and, more often than not, more trouble than it’s worth.

Greater Data Volume

With a growing need for more enterprise applications comes an increased volume of data…

And, while more data tends to lead to better insights and greater visibility across teams, it can also add extra complexity and unnecessary hassle in trying to maintain compliance and outline data volume management processes in the most efficient way possible.

New applications and growth in enterprise data in a company’s main database make it difficult to keep up with all the different data sources in an efficient manner, often causing an impairment to the system’s productivity and performance and requiring added costs and fees.

New Retention Requirements

Regulations that mandate the maintenance of electronic data across systems are ever-changing as the digital landscape has evolved over time. And, with new regulations and rules for the management of digital systems and electronic data, the value of information across business landscapes has becomes one of the most important assets for any company.

While keeping up with and managing this data efficiently and effectively is an important task for companies across industries, it is often hard for users to maintain at a high level over time. New laws are also expected to increase the volume of data even more, making it more difficult for companies to manage costs and maintain data across the entire information lifecycle.

Main Advantages of Information Lifecycle Management in SAP

Here are a few key benefits of the SAP Information Lifecycle Management solution in SAP…

Compliance and Data Retention

SAP ILM provides comprehensive tools that help companies ensure compliance with regulatory and legal requirements, including the ability to define retention rules, categorize data, and enforce consistent data retention policies.

With automated data deletion and retention processes in SAP Information Lifecycle Management, users can mitigate risks related to data breaches, avoid non-compliance with important regulations and meeting legal requirements, and reduce data storage costs.

Data Privacy and Security

SAP ILM offers robust features to protect sensitive information, keeping data security and integrity at the top of the priority list.

The ILM solution enables organizations to identify and mask confidential data, enforce data privacy legal requirements such as the General Data Protection Regulation (GDPR), and manage data access controls across the SAP landscape.

SAP ILM helps safeguard data throughout its lifecycle to enhance data privacy and security measures and ensure GDPR compliance, no matter what.

Enhanced Data Access and Analytics

The SAP ILM solution facilitates seamless access to archived data, enabling organizations to leverage archive files and other historical information for business intelligence and reporting purposes.

By archiving data that is not accessed frequently and offloading it from systems in production, SAP ILM improves system performance and responsiveness, enables efficient data analysis, enhances decision-making processes, and allows for better data consistency across the entire SAP system.

Optimized Storage and Cost Efficiency

With SAP ILM, companies can optimize storage costs by automatically identifying and moving data to their appropriate storage tiers, based on access frequency, relevance, and other important data categories.

These intelligent data tiering functions help users reduce the burden on their primary storage systems, lower overall system infrastructure costs, and maximize the utilization of data storage resources across the board.

Scalability and Flexibility

SAP ILM offers scalable and flexible features to accommodate ever-growing data volumes and evolving business needs.

And, with seamless integrations between existing SAP applications, the SAP ILM solution can be extended to support other non-SAP and legacy systems, offering a more unified approach to data archiving and governance across the enterprise.

Flexible deployment options, including on-premises and cloud, help SAP ILM cater its core components and capabilities to meet diverse organizational requirements and manage important ILM objects over time.

How Can We Help?

Whether you’re looking to archive or get access to archived data, implementing new SAP solutions for the first time, or integrating SAP ILM with other SAP applications for better data management and compliance, Surety Systems is here to help.

Our team of senior-level SAP consultants has the technical skills and functional expertise needed to create an effective data management strategy and improve data archiving processes for better business outcomes in the long run.

Your technology. Your priorities. Our expertise. That’s just the way our team rolls at Surety.

Getting Started with Us

Interested in learning where our team of SAP consultants can fit in your organization?

Ready to protect your most important data and minimize business risk with SAP Information Lifecycle Management, but don’t know where to begin?

Contact us today for more information about our SAP consulting services!