From CMOs to CIOs to Archivists, digital archiving is playing a huge role in helping firms ensure vital digital information is preserved and protected for the long-term. First, we'll define ‘what is digital archiving’ and explain how it's combatting one of the biggest risks corporates face: the loss of digital assets and corporate memory.
Evidence strongly suggests that, as technology develops and more digital assets are created by businesses, the digital preservation solutions in place require greater focus (or, in many cases, an urgent review).
According to Forrester, corporates now face greater digital fragility risk because a much larger amount of digital assets (including webpages, social posts, videos, podcasts, email campaigns etc) are being created, putting a strain on traditional storage methods.
This also extends further than one might expect. For example, whilst keeping records has largely been driven by compliance requirements there's a tendency to forget about digital assets created by internal teams across business functions - from your insight team all the way to sales and marketing. Each and every department is creating an abundance of assets and data that drives the business.
Issues such as link rot (the process in which a visitor reaches a broken link), obsolete formats and vendor abandonment mean digital preservation is of high concern for many corporates.
For example, according to the Yale Journal of Law and Technology, 29% of websites cited by the US Supreme Court were no longer working. Since many of these issues go unrecognised their immediate importance gets lost and they are relegated to lower down the agenda.
A clear information governance programme has never been more necessary. It needs to be shaped around your digital assets and, for many firms tackling this, digital archiving is the way they're preserving this data.
What is digital archiving?
Digital archiving is, in essence, the process of capturing and archiving the digital content a business produces - all of which is typically stored in a platform where a business can retrieve these records on-demand. Due to the number of digital channels in existence, there are archiving solutions that cater to different mediums, for example, archiving the web is very different from archiving social media content.
The list is ever expansive and for financial services firms, archiving provisions have been in place for some time due to the regulatory rules imposed upon them. However, businesses must go beyond the bare minimum of compliance-driven governance and realise their digital information has a lifetime value - improving their ability to conduct analysis, improve customer experience and inspire innovation.
You've no doubt heard the term, 'the world’s most valuable resource is no longer oil, but data'. This shift to a data-focused economy has put a spotlight on the importance of the digital assets a business creates. Websites are must-haves and the role of digital marketing is critical to many business models in cultivating customer bases.
Unfortunately, the investment being poured into these digital assets (content creation, website design etc) could inevitably be lost due to corporate digital fragility. With this in mind, CMOs and CIOs are waking up to this realisation and the impact it could have.
Effectively preserving and storing digital assets isn’t just about 'good' corporate practice, these assets can help inspire future marketing campaigns and allow businesses to continue benefitting from the investment they’ve made.
Consumers are inundated with digital marketing and, in time, companies with the longest-running brands will have the most experience in how to cut through the noise and get noticed. Effective digital preservation isn’t as simple as having records to refer back to, it's also about preserving a company’s legacy and a huge amount of its value. In fact, well-managed and consistent brands that take digital preservation seriously are on average worth 20% more.
With the challenge of personalisation hard to meet in the face of mounting regulations, we recently created a comprehensive guide on this issue. Click here for your free copy of The Compliant Marketer's Ultimate Guide To Personalisation.
Unfortunately, digital preservation solutions can suffer from lack of attention, investment and forward-planning. Many firms still use obsolete mediums such as discs and USBs to store digital data and measures such as screenshots are too static to capture dynamic items like video content and live banners.
A huge amount of work is put into personalising marketing content, ensuring it is tailored to specific personas and buyer journeys. Therefore, effectively archiving this content requires a more intuitive approach. It is no wonder that the digital asset management industry, worth $1.24bn in 2018, is on track to have a value of $6.9bn by 2024.
The advantages of digital archiving
This is why the benefits of digital archiving are becoming so widely recognised, allowing corporates to automatically build complete living archives of their websites and social feeds that are designed to last forever. These platforms use ‘crawl’ technology to scour a firm’s digital assets and create entire archives for preservation and compliance purposes.
To enhance the advantages of digital archiving, and push this issue up the agenda, here are four digital archiving best practices:
Actively plan for data retention in the long-term
Take time to consider the above risks we have laid out and how corporates can suffer when losing digital assets. Stop regarding digital archiving as an afterthought and become more proactive. Hire and develop digital expertise, invest in top-of-the-line archiving solutions and embrace preservation as part of your internal processes.
More attention should be turned towards your day-to-day digital conduct whilst supporting data preservation strategies. It should be made clear to employees that the digital content being created will be viewed for years and decades ahead.
Archives give you the ability to produce legally admissible records, due to their nature they're often timestamped and signed with a digital signature to prove authenticity. On top of general good practice (ensuring digital content is of a high standard, reinforcing brand values etc), consider how conduct can be improved to support and implement these processes. This could also mean more considered, thoughtful and timeless and content is created.
Extend digital responsibility throughout the business
We’ve stressed how important digital assets are to a business, but this knowledge is useless if it doesn’t get out of the boardroom! Ensure all employees are engaged with the company’s digital content and that ownership of these processes runs throughout the wider team.
Use archives to drive CX
The clue is in the name, many digital assets are used to drive CX and EX efforts so consider this in your thinking. Some firms make the mistake of leaving their archiving solution to run in the background and only turn to it during audits or dispute situations. With so much value tied up in an archive, become introspective and see what you can learn from your digital assets.
At MirrorWeb, our archiving platform is the solution of choice for a wide range of brands, financial services firms and public bodies. To help you learn more about the importance of digital preservation, we’ve created The Essential Guide to Website Archiving, simply click here to take a look!