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Scrambling to Track Down Retention Rules for Your Data Archiving Project? DSAG Committees Band Together to Document Archiving Best Practices

by Frank Schellenberger and Pier-Francesco Cantatore | SAPinsider

April 1, 2009

Two DSAG committees joined forces to compile all of the rules and best practices surrounding data retention in one central location. Find out how to access this shared knowledge.

Frank Schellenberger
Spokesman, Application Architecture Working Group
Globalization Special Interest Group

Pier-Francesco Cantatore
Data Archiving & Information Lifecycle Management
Special Interest Group

The German-Speaking SAP User Group (DSAG) provides a rich forum for members to collaborate with other SAP users, work together to solve common problems, and share best practices. Last year, two DSAG committees joined forces to draft a best-practices document designed to help members tackle a crucial undertaking: data retention.

The volume of data stored in companies’ ERP systems has grown exponentially, even over the last few years. To reduce this strain on databases and the resulting performance slowdowns, companies must purge these systems of information that is no longer needed.

At the same time, however, legal regulations require companies to retain certain information for a set time — or suffer the consequences. And since these regulations vary based on data type and country of origin, it’s easy to see why cleaning and archiving data systems can cause headaches for IT teams.

Collecting a Single Source of Data Retention Information

To help companies address these issues, members of DSAG’s Application Architecture Working Group and Data Archiving & Information Lifecycle Management Special Interest Group banded together to collect all of the rules and best practices surrounding data retention and compile them in one central location.

To get started, we had to figure out the reasons behind members’ data retention problems. We determined that archiving projects typically don’t get off the ground because IT isn’t sure what the country-specific regulations are for their data. Because tracking down this information is so time consuming, companies often keep data longer than necessary, leading to slower system performance. So we joined together to create a document that outlines best practices and guidelines for archiving data in global SAP systems.

This “living” document consists of a comprehensive table, which lists the storage period (residence time) of data in SAP systems, as well as data retention times in the various countries — six years in Spain, for example. Although these guidelines are mostly relevant for accounting data, the rules often apply to financial, logistics, and sales data as well. After four months of meetings and teleconferences, we released the document to other DSAG members so they could use the information in their own data retention projects and help us update the document.

Participate in the Knowledge Sharing

Those interested in helping us update this document can send information to We plan to revisit and revise the document every year, and we invite — and encourage — every DSAG member to help keep it current. This knowledge sharing and networking is a key benefit of DSAG membership. To access this and other best-practice docu­ments (see sidebar), please visit

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