Backup and Storage

Ensure your firm is not victim of IT knowledge loss

Firms investing in document storage should ask older IT experts to pass on their knowledge of the company mainframe to younger colleagues.

Businesses investing in document storage might be showing that they are preparing for the future, but they should ensure this is not their only action in protecting their company.

It has been claimed that the complexities of many enterprises’ mainframes make understanding them a tough task for new IT specialists.

This stems from the fact that many of the applications used were developed in the 1960s and 70s and have undergone numerous upgrades, patches, fixes and additions during the intervening years.

According to Compuware, this means that only a select few older colleagues might fully understand all the ins and outs of the system and this knowledge could be lost when they retire.

European mainframe director Neil Richards explained that there are many companies who realise the danger associated with losing these skills, but some who do not.

"I think that, although 71 per cent of CIOs (chief information officers) see this as a business problem, any CIO responsible for mainframe business will have a problem with this in the future in one way, shape or form," he said.

With many mainframes being so old, not only is data storage a problem, but even technology experts can struggle to get to grips with them if they lack experience of the system in question.

"One customer actually told me they’ve got a local application, and it’s so complicated to understand that even if you gave them a mainframe-skilled person it would take that person three years to understand exactly how that application works, how everything fits together," Mr Richards warned.

As such, firms planning to invest in secure document storage might also be wise to encourage older members of the IT team to pass on their knowledge to their younger counterparts to ensure it remains within the company.