IBM, Iron Mountain Unite on Record Management

With their new tool, storage titans promise easier handling of any kind of document.

Despite technology's promise of creating a paperless office environment, enterprises still struggle with growing piles of digital records.

"Businesses continue to swim in a vast sea of refined wood pulp," Charles King, principal analyst, Pund-IT, told "The sheer complexity of dealing with huge volumes of paper documents has implications for everything from managing accounting processes to meeting legal compliance requirements," he added.

But two storage titans are collaborating to ease those management pains.

IBM (NYSE: IBM) is combining its FileNet Records Manager with Iron Mountain's (NYSE: IRM) Accutrac software to create a tool to manage both paper and digital records.

"We’re just under way, and our respective engineers have begun to collaborate on integrating the technology behind our two systems," Greg Nicastro, executive vice president of Iron Mountain’s integrated solutions group, told He said both vendors will be talking with respective customers to learn what they need in terms of tool functionality.

The partnership is strategic for both storage vendors given the competitive data storage and management market.

Iron Mountain aims to duplicate its dominance in the physical document-management sector over in the competitive digital records industry.

IBM is trying to stay in step with fellow titans Hewlett-Packard and EMC, and just announced a $10 million dollar Global Archive Solutions Center for helping companies build lon

"Through the integration, customers will enjoy improved access to all of their records, whether paper or electronic, active or inactive," Nicastro said.

"This ability to apply one set of policies -- retention schedules and litigation holds -- to all records is vital," Nicastro notes. "Organizations have better control over information, enabling a quicker response to discovery requests during litigation and ensuring a greater likelihood for complying with retention and privacy legislation."

The joint product is an extension of a strategic relationship begun earlier this year when Iron Mountain launched its Digital Record Center for Images, an archive for electronic data powered by IBM's Content Manager onDemand software. The two companies expect to release the new product later this year.

The new tool will also allow for better decision making and facilitate consistent record-keeping practices for classifying, tracking and managing documents.

"This isn’t a paper versus digital fight," Nicastro continued. "Organizations must manage information in a uniform way, so they can find it quickly, use it and comply with mounting regulations."

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