October 12, 2012 - 3:04 PM
Many of us who have had long careers in Records Management have the experience of trying to get management support for our records management efforts. Many years ago, we recognized that management often did not appreciate the importance of information and records and the means of managing them. We realized that records management courses were not provided in MBA, and similar management, education programs. We understood that as current senior managers rose through their careers, they had little exposure to records management.
Over the last decade, records management systems were developed and have become much more sophisticated. Except for the larger organizations in highly regulated industries, they were considered to be too expensive and complicated.
With both of these situations, it was as if our organization was at the community pool and either did not see the water or thought it would be too miserable to get wet.
Along came SharePoint, with its excellent capabilities for file sharing and collaboration. Over time, there began the consideration of using it for records management purposes. It fell within the mindset of many people that all we needed was technology (SharePoint) and our problems would be solved.
SharePoint had been seen as the seemingly low-cost solution to managing the content and records within our organizations. As organizations are trying to succeed with this solution, they are being impacted by the awareness that they also require records management policies, structure, metadata and records series (content types) and records management support, either internally or externally.
SharePoint requires substantial customization and/or 3rdparty plug-ins to meet the needs of managing content and records. Organizations are impacted by these requirements and efforts. They are starting to learn about, appreciate, develop and meet records management functional requirements in these customizations.
Using the analog I presented above, I am suggesting that SharePoint has gotten many organizations wading in the shallow end of the community pool. We are closer to swimming in the deep end.
Will SharePoint, with the additional functionality in SharePoint 2010 and/or substantial customization by MS partners and unlimited plug-ins be the answer for everyone? The results from AIIM’s Market Intelligence – The SharePoint Puzzle indicate that: “14% [of the respondents] use SharePoint as their only ECM tool. This suggests that organizations are using SharePoint for ECM as a single-point tool, perhaps on a site-by-site basis for project teams, as opposed to their corporate ECM repository.”
I can see that some customized versions of SharePoint will work for certain organizations and that is great. Along the way, there has grown the appreciation for records management and the need for a sound solution.
I can see that other customizations of SharePoint, when bundled with more robust ERM solutions, will satisfy the needs of other organizations. The results from AIIM’s Market Intelligence – The SharePoint Puzzle indicate that: “Almost half (44%) of those surveyed are using some form of ECM/DM tool alongside SharePoint.”
I can also see that some SharePoint initiatives will fail. Is that necessarily a bad thing? – No, because along the way, there has grown the awareness that records and information management are very important and that there is need for investments in SharePoint and, perhaps, other solutions to manage the information assets. I believe that this set back, not failure, will lead organizations to, perhaps, totally different approaches to managing your records.
Whether you think SharePoint is the answer to your records management needs within your organization, I think that SharePoint, and the ongoing efforts to make it work, are powerful awareness and educational tools.
I sincerely hope that your SharePoint solution works for you. However, if it doesn’t, take advantage of the new appreciation for records and information management within your organization to drive increased information governance, the need for a records management program and the use of other solutions to satisfy your needs.
From the SharePoint implementation efforts, we have come a long way. We are much closer to being able to dive into the pool.
Tell us about your efforts to implement SharePoint to manage your content and records.
What are your thoughts on the use of SharePoint as an electronic document and records management solution?
I will be speaking at the following events:
October 23rd- 26th, 2012 AIIM ERM Master class in Toronto, Ontario Canada
November 13th– 16th, 2012 AIIM ECM Master class in Amsterdam
December 4th– 7th, 2012 AIIM ERM Master class in Amsterdam
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This post and comment(s) reflect the personal perspectives of community members, and not necessarily those of their employers or of AIIM International