Language Switcher

    Data Identification & Clustering



    Quality & Integrity

    Platform Integration

    Data Privacy & Security

    Simulation & Automation

    Retention & Retirement

    Governance & Support

    Process Excellence


      SAP Information
      Lifecycle Management (ILM):
      This is how GDPR-compliant data management works!

      Home > Challenges > SAP Information Lifecycle Management

      What is SAP ILM?


      SAP Information Lifecycle Management (ILM) describes a comprehensive approach to automated data management. Rules are used to determine how data is handled throughout its lifecycle - from creation and storage to decommissioning and final deletion. The aim is to optimize data flows, reduce IT system costs and minimize legal compliance risks associated with the collection of certain data.


      The background for Information Lifecycle Management approaches are growing amounts of data, more complex system landscapes and continuously increasing requirements from legal regulations such as the GDPR. These require improved data governance methods and data protection measures from companies - especially for personal data. And this is exactly where ILM comes in.


      How does SAP Information Lifecycle Management (ILM) work?

      Lifecycle Management & Storage

      SAP ILM supplements the standard SAP data archiving and enables companies to automatically block, archive, or delete personal data. Corresponding ILM rules are defined for this. These determine, for example, the minimum and maximum retention periods for productive and archived data, thus ensuring that they are removed from the system and destroyed at the right time. If necessary, legal blocks can also be placed on data to prevent premature deletion. In practice, the deletion process is usually preceded by a final check. This means that the data to be deleted is first collected in an archive, then checked by the responsible information owner, and only then released for final deletion.

      In addition, data that has already been archived with SAP ILM can also be stored on an ILM-certified WebDAV server. This guarantees that the data cannot be changed and protects against premature deletion, while at the same time relieving the active IT system and saving costs. Overall, powerful information lifecycle management in companies ensures consistent data management and disposal in accordance with data protection and retention regulations. You can find out more about this in our ILM whitepaper.

      Instant benefits of SAP ILM







      Controlled data growth and risk minimization

      Less complex IT infrastructure and lower costs

      Improved regulatory compliance


      The 3 key competencies of SAP Information Lifecycle Management

      Data archiving, retention management and retention warehouse

      1. Data archiving

      The core element of SAP Information Lifecycle Management is data archiving, which focuses on data volume management. That means: data that is no longer required in day-to-day business is outsourced from the operative IT system. SAP ILM expands the archiving functions of the SAP standard to enable interaction with the modules Retention Management and Retention Warehouse. In addition to archiving, SAP ILM also allows data to be destroyed and snapshots to be created.

      2. Retention Management

      The second element, retention management, controls the lifecycle of data up to its End-of-Life. Data creation, storage, and destruction are managed using different methods and tools. Defined sets of rules and deletion concepts provide the guidelines for the different data types. Data related to legal cases can also be temporarily frozen using the lock feature.

      3. Retention Warehouse

      The third element, Retention Warehouse, is aimed at decommissioning entire system landscapes or legacy systems. It provides a standardized procedure for this:

      • Archiving of the entire database from the legacy system
      • Rule-based storage of data in the ILM Retention Warehouse
      • Ensuring that the data can be retrieved for tax or auditing purposes until the retention period has expired


      Special features of SAP ILM in SAP HCM

      Data protection-compliant handling of personal data

      In SAP Human Capital Management (HCM) systems, in particular, a large number of sensitive, personal data are processed. For these, the GDPR prescribes specific deletion periods that must be observed. As described above, SAP ILM can be used to define an individual set of rules that can also be linked to the HR data or processes in SAP HCM. These blocking and deletion processes ensure that personnel data is not processed in your SAP HCM systems for longer than permitted. This gives those responsible the security and control that the GDPR specifications are bindingly complied with for all personal data in system landscapes of any complexity.

      In addition to the security and control that SAP ILM enables in SAP HCM, it also ensures performance and cost gain in the system. Data that is no longer required is regularly deleted and does not take up unnecessary storage space while existing data can be processed more efficiently. Would you like to learn more about the data protection-compliant handling of personnel data in SAP HCM? Then take a look at our whitepaper.

      EN_Downloads_SuccessStory_Carlsberg_CTA_Panel_Desktop DE_Downloads_SuccessStory_Carlsberg_CTA_Panel_Mobile

      GDPR compliance with SAP ILM

      HCM systems are typically home to a large amount of personal data. The creation of sustainable deletion routines and full data protection compliance is crucial here. Carlsberg knew that too. In our success story, you can read how the brewery group significantly optimized its data protection compliance thanks to SAP ILM.


      SAP ILM introduction

      The introduction of SAP Information Lifecycle Management can be complex and extensive depending on the individual requirements of the project and the nature of the systems. Because the blocking and deletion of personal data affect numerous processes and objects. Standardized implementation approaches, best practices, and predefined templates like those developed by Natuvion can be real game-changers here. And at the same time ensure increased data quality and lower implementation costs.


      Would you like to learn more about our SAP ILM Services? Simply fill out the contact form and we will get in touch with you as soon as possible.