GFT inboxx has developed a unified archive - a single repository which it claimed can store anything that an organisation needs to keep in digital form, whether it be email, ERP data, voice recordings, or faxes.

Called inboxx hyparchiv, the archiving software integrates into source applications and allows any stored document to be searched - even faxes and other images, which can be converted to text via OCR (optical character recognition).

Bernd Höck, the company's marketing director, said that unified archiving could be used to meet regulatory compliance and e-discovery needs, as well as for offloading PCs of old email and for searching retained data.

"Compliance has brought in new types of data to archive, for instance police forces need to archive tapes of interviews, and call centres need to record their calls," he said. "However, although compliance is a driver for archiving, we found that [in Europe] it's not the top one."

For instance, in a survey of UK private sector IT bosses, in every sector the top-rated driver for effective email management was efficiency. In sectors such as retail and distribution, compliance wasn't even the second most important driver, being beaten by cost reduction.

That need not be a problem, Höck said, if an archiving system installed for reasons of efficiency also makes it possible to handle e-discovery requests, say.

"Sometimes people go out to research compliance but never reach the end of it," he continued. "Compliance comes down to the ability to store and search all your documents. We say, get the archiving done first, and only then move on to business policies."