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Breaking Up is Hard to Do

Strategically Speaking
Aug 15, 2012

Scott Russell Author: Scott Russell,

We’ve all been through that painful breakup.  Your girlfriend/boyfriend is on the couch, sobbing into a Kleenex with a shoebox full of their essential possessions… the DVD movies you used to watch together, a t-shirt and toothbrush.  And after you give the “It’s not you it’s me” speech and figure out who gets custody of the cat, you realize it was the right time to move on.  Breaking up is hard to do!

And so it’s the same with technology.  There’s comfort in the familiar and sometimes it’s hard to let go.  As technology evolves, it’s important that we do not fear the unknown, but embrace the latest advancements.  When we don’t (especially in our industry) we put ourselves and the companies we work for at risk. 

So eventually, for the sake of efficiencies and business-health, the day will come when you have to “break up” with your legacy system and move on to a new Content Management Solution.  One of the major perceived challenges of this is conversion of the archive data, which are the primary data records (check images, reports, statements, signature cards and scanned documents), that must be retained in a financial institution for ongoing research. 

We at ProfitStars understand this well, so I thought we’d pass on the three most frequently asked Archive Data Conversion questions to help you get started with this “break up”… 

• How long do I have to keep my old data and how much should I convert over?
Answer-Most states require financial institutions to retain client information for a period of 7 years. However other states require 10 years for statement and any transactional information. As for scanned loan files or other scanned client records, typically this electronic document must be retained for the “life of the loan” (as many as 30 years) or the “life of the transaction”. All of this is subject to the rules and regulations of each state.

• Why not keep the legacy system running?
Answer- Benefits to converting legacy data to the new system include: efficiencies with usability, cost savings by eliminating ongoing hardware/software maintenance on the legacy system, and increased security functionality so archive data can be consolidated in current systems designed to protect against today’s risk threats. There is a multitude of legacy media such as tapes, optical disks, CDs, DVDs, legacy servers, etc. which are still being used. These antiquated types of media are typically fragile and susceptible to damage or system errors, potentially resulting in loss of data. 

• How long will this conversion take?
Answer-This can vary depending on the volume and type of data that is being converted. The components of a conversion are: staging and copy of data from legacy media to production conversion servers, development of conversion script to format data into a common format, packaging of data to new format, QA analysis of converted data and finally loading of converted data into the new system. During any conversion, pre-planning is the key and all financial institutions should have a contingency plan for ongoing research while the data is being converted. A target goal for completion can usually be developed once data volumes and samples are received and tested.

So the next time you think about keeping that old legacy system around for a few more years, delaying the inevitable, maybe these answers can help you take that first step toward a healthy “break up”.  By converting the data, you can live without that system you once had a serious commitment to.  And you can keep the cat.

Have more Archive Data Conversion questions? Post them in the comments section below. 

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