Chris21 archiving – do you do it?

If you don’t then you’re probably in the majority. In my experience many organisations perform little or no archiving from their Chris21 system.

The problem is that it’s not in everyone’s interest. System administrators will usually be all in favour of archiving because they can see the benefits of reducing and managing space on their servers. But those who actually use Chris21 will see things differently. They will want as much data as possible to be readily available.

So should you archive you Chris21 database?

The short answer, from an organisational point of view, is yes you should. Over time your database can grow very large, especially if you have in excess of 1000 employees. Even if you have a relatively small employee list, your database can still grow quickly if you are using some of the HR components of Chris21, such as Training and Development.

As administrators will know, the more you let your database grow the longer it will take to perform certain functions, such as backups and upgrades.

From the user’s perspective, while you may think that archiving means you lose ready access to historical data (and this is true), there are some good reasons to do it.

Here are some of the benefits when regular Chris21 archiving is performed:

  • Better system performance. You may find that as your database gets bigger and bigger certain tasks will take longer, such as reporting and some aspects of payroll processing.
  • Backups will be quicker.
  • If you use one of the database options (SQL or Oracle) you will find that moving your database to or from Vision/SQL/Oracle will be much quicker.
  • Upgrades will be quicker.

Yes, these are predominantly benefits for the administrators, however as a user you will be involved in some of these functions to some extent, therefore you will benefit. The question is – do the pros outweigh the cons? Chris21 archiving

From the users point of view the answer is usually no, hence I see a lot of clients who do little or no Chris21 archiving. The user is mostly concerned with quick and easy access to all the information that has been historically stored in the database. Regular archiving will make things more difficult for users.

A user could legitimately claim the following disadvantages of archiving their Chris21 data:

  • Archived data is more difficult to access. For instance, if you run a report that spans the archived period, this information will not be available. Likewise, if you look up the information directly from Chris21 it may not be present.
  • There will be version compatibility issues if you want to access data that was archived prior to your most recent upgrade. In this case you will need a compatible version of Chris21 so that the archive can be restored. This can be an involved process and can take time.
  • Difficulty determining what to archive and how much. There are various options for archiving, such as pay history, auditing, and terminated staff. It’s hard for a user to know what is safe to archive and how far back they should archive without adversely affecting day to day operations.
  • Difficulty running the actual archive processes. This is usually an administrator task, therefore this will have to be scheduled and probably out of normal work hours when users aren’t logged on.
What’s the best solution?

As you can see, there are two areas of the organisation that will have differing views on Chris21 archiving – administrators and users. The best solution is to find some middle ground that works for both groups. Archiving and other general housekeeping should be done and the tools are there in Chris21 to help you to do it.

My suggestion is to agree on the amount of data to be archived. As an example you could suggest greater than two years of pay history, or greater that six months of audit data. This could be done on a quarterly basis to maintain your database at an acceptable size.

You will need to ensure that the administrator keeps a version of the Chris21 software that matches the archived data so that it can be easily retrieve if needed. Or at the very least, have a process in place so that an earlier version of the software can be installed when required.

If you carefully choose how far back you begin your archive, you shouldn’t be greatly impacted. When you think about it, having two years of pay history in the database will usually be sufficient. If you do find this too restrictive you can always restructure this to leave more data in the database.

I hope this helps you to make an informed decision about your Chris21 archiving. If you already archive leave a comment and let me and the other readers know how well it’s working for you.