There’s no rule that data has to be new to be helpful. In fact, using old data can sometimes save you money and time in the collection process.
Here are three ways to make sure the data you have now remains available and relevant for future use:
Develop a policy.
Decide what information you should keep or discard based on a set of criteria. Remember that data storage costs are dropping all the time, so lean toward keeping things whenever possible.
Make data future-friendly.
Create accompanying technical documents that explain how the data is used and describe any gaps or limitations.
Convert when necessary.
No one can predict the future, but be thoughtful about what format you use. Try to keep data in formats that will be readable in 10 or 20 years.
Adapted from “How to Turn Old Data into Business Gold” by Robert Plant.