Computerworld last week had front-page article on Information life-cycle tools appealing but remain distant. The idea behind these tools is to manage information from cradle to grave. This would involve tracking collections of data and associated meta data, like the creator and associated regulations. The hope is that automation will help maintain your massive backlog of information. For example, after many years with my old email software that recorded addresses of my communications, I have 8,000 addresses in my databases. Many of these are ancient and don't work anymore, but there they sit.
But the concept of life-cycle management applies to many fields. Information LCM is related to content and document management. The end result is the same: ensure current documents (or web pages) meet the current standards and have been created according to established business rules.
Dupont advertise their Antron carpet fibers as being part of a LCM program. They mainly focus on recycling the carpet fibers for "no disposal at landfills." Many other big industrial firms look at similar issues of managing their product from the time they take the raw materials out of the ground until the product is returned for salvage and reuse. This is as opposed to no-longer-accurate view of industry as tossing their product out into the world without concern for how its production and eventual disposal affects the world.
IT systems are subject to application life-cycle management. Especially in regulated industries, the software needs to be proven effective at what it is intended to do. This means that everything needs to be documented and the applications need to be kept up to snuff with the latest approaches to security, integrity and validity. This life-cycle is usually shown as a circle with inputs of design, build, test, release, monitor, upgrade, test, release ... through eventual mothballing when the application no longer meets the needs of the business.
Of course, in regulated industries just about everything needs to be validated, and the life-cycle approach makes sense for some organizations: design, build, test, monitor ... retire. Equipment, manufacturing processes, buildings.