You've heard it before: There's gold buried deep in your organization's data -- valuable insights that a little mining can bring to the surface.

True? In some cases, yes, but a hoarding impulse can backfire too. In fact, enterprises that implement big data analytics platforms -- applying complex mathematical algorithms to unlock new trends and customer insights -- can easily turn into information pack rats, says the Compliance, Governance and Oversight Council (CGOC), a forum of about 2,300 legal, IT, records and information management professional from business and government agencies.

"We're starting to hear some CTOs say, 'Well, we don't want to delete our data if we can mine value out of it,'" said Jake Frazier, CGOC executive director who's also an attorney who works at IBM, in a phone interview with InformationWeek. "I think that's a false dichotomy. Once you delete data that's stale, the algorithms actually function much better from an analytics standpoint. Leaving stale data can actually skew the algorithms towards older facts."

The CGOC claims that information hoarding costs enterprises thousands or even millions of dollars annually in unneeded infrastructure and storage costs, not to mention legal fees for reviewing documents that should be trashed. It also lowers productivity as workers sift through vast stockpiles of digital data to find information they need.

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