In a previous post, I outlined the three questions you should ask before doing a file analytics project. In this post, I’m going to go into a little more detail on the second question – “Why am I doing it?” – and suggest some of the solutions most appropriate for what you’re trying to do. I’m assuming that you’re most likely interested in focusing on unstructured information (documents) and structured information (databases), both on-premise and off-premise (in the cloud).
So first, pick out why you think you want to do file analytics from the table below. Either pick out the business scenario from the left, or start at the general objective on the right and pick out a likely scenario:
Here are some observations, based on file analytics scenarios we’ve seen with our various consulting clients:
- Risk management is the most common objective for doing file analytics. Most organizations which do it are trying to improve risk control and compliance, information security and privacy, or records management.
- Business efficiency optimization is actually necessary or desirable in almost all enterprise content management (ECM) initiatives, but is not effectively addressed by most vendors or people trying to do it. Conducting file analysis is the first step toward the content cleanup and reorganization that can improve the efficiency of business processes which rely on the repositories at issue.
- IT optimization is almost always an objective to some degree in all file analysis projects, but the purest IT optimization objective for file analysis is to improve storage management for IT operational efficiency and to lower total cost of ownership.
- Strategic objective optimization is a mixed bag. Sometimes file analysis projects chasing this objective can be relatively straightforward, as in the case of optimization happening in the wake of mergers, acquisitions, or divestitures; but sometimes they can be difficult to execute or identify clear ROI, as with value analytics (which also is primarily for structured data rather than documents).
Okay, then. Having identified the objective of your file analytics initiative, here’s a list of business scenarios corresponding to each objective, and a short list of the file analytics software solutions that will do the best job of meeting the requirements for each set of scenarios. Note that there are plenty of players in this market space. I've listed here the leaders in the various categories, for each of the general objectives.