What is life-cycle management?
Life-cycle management is a discipline that can be applied to information to ensure that it is managed correctly based on its current status from inception through to disposal. To put that in the context of a document management system, life-cycle management helps us to identify what stage a document is in (production, research, archived etc), and then apply the correct management procedures to it.
At first glance, this may seem a level of unnecessary complexity to apply to a system, which can quite happily manage all the organisations documents in one library. Unfortunately, the truth is that a system only 'appears' to manage the documents. In truth, the documents are all accessible and searchable, but there is often no real management taking place, just contingency for recovery in the event of system failure.
With life-cycle management in place, we can separate, and apply different management principals, to documents based on their stage in their life-cycle:-
Production documents can be placed on high availability equipment, with regular backups and fast recovery routes.
Research documents (documents for completed projects or matters) can be placed in read-only libraries, removing the risk of data contamination (a user forgetting to select 'save-as' when they open an old document), reducing backup requirements. This has the added benefit of speeding up user interaction, by allowing users to search either active documents or active and research documents.
Archive documents can be placed in the control of compliance, reducing the risk of 'out-dated' information being used inadvertently.
In an eDocs system life-cycle procedures can be implemented quickly, simply and transparently for the end-user.