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Records are the Assets of the Organization

By Jeff Shuey
May 29 2014

​I just listened to a great webcast with AIIM's Theresa Resek talking to Microsoft about their use of SharePoint for Records Management. One of the things that Microsoft’s Andrew SanAgustin said struck a chord. He said that he doesn’t think of records and just records. He thinks of them as assets. He had a pretty slick slide to support that line of thinking too.

I tend to agree. There is, or needs to be, a fundamental shift in the way people think of records. And, by people, I mean everyone within the organization. It seems Microsoft is using this model to help people think about records.

Records are the Assets of the Organization

Side Note: It’s nice to see Microsoft is eating it’s own dogfood. Which is not too uncommon. It’s how the business teams can provide direct feedback to the products teams.

The Future of Records (Management)

This Future of RM follows another oldie, but goodie, from Microsoft. Specifically, from the mind and mouth of Bill Gates. He said information should be available …

Any Place, Any Time and on Any Device

Meaning the content being captured, sought, and processed is portable.

  • You no longer need to be in the office.
  • You don’t have to keep anything (or at least you don’t have to think about it)
  • You don’t need to worry about where your data is located or wonder “But … what if I need this later?”

The Future of Records Management includes empowered, enlightened and envisioned Records Managers.

The Records Managers of the future will be able to say (with a straight face):

  • Don’t worry about it.
  • We've seen to it that we have created policies and procedures to create records AND delete records at the appropriate time.
  • We've seen the Future … and you are part of it.

Records are the Assets of the Organization

Transformation

The RM’s of the future will also be able to say (also with a straight face):
We are staying on top of how the changes in Laws, Business, and How Business Units and Groups work together. It’s interesting and heartening to see that Microsoft is leading the charge here and helping the SharePoint (and I would assume Office 365 teams) are able to empower the Records Managers both today and in the future. The changes (or perhaps adaptations) in SharePoint are smart and functional changes that will help keep SharePoint on the front edge of driving the product and the Microsoft stack deeper into many businesses.
Key Point: This is not to say that the Records Managers of the future have it easy. They still have a job to do. And, it’s a job that involves end users, line-of-business managers, the legal team, the IT organization and executives.

What happens when Records Managers aren’t involved?

Beware (and respect) the Long Arm of Discovery and Litigation

By setting policy properly … you can focus on the business not the technology.

Three Steps to Records Management success:

  • Access
  • Review
  • Implement

These are easy to say, but hard to do in a consistent, predictable and repeatable fashion.

Good News - Partners Still Matter

Microsoft is making it easier. However, there is still a need for 3rd party vendors for specific capabilities. I continue to live and work in the Microsoft Partner Ecosystem because Microsoft has realized that partners fill gaps and niches that they have no interest in doing and/or in areas that partners can fill rapidly.
Think of some of these specific use cases:

  • Compliance – Planning & Thinking up front saves headaches and potential embarrassing results.
  • Governance – both content and technical
  • Declaring Records – From within email, from a mobile device, in a BYOD scenarioDisposing Records – Across all repositories and devices

Also, Workflow, Migration, Storage, email management (and dealing with email attachments too), as well as Social Computing and a few other areas I’m sure I missed here. Out of the Box (OOTB) Microsoft SharePoint doesn’t off end-to-end capabilities to support these functions. This is OK.

One of the key points that kept coming up was the idea and best practice of using technology to drive the business. When policies and procedures (and partners) are involved the business can adapt and adjust in near real-time to changing market and business conditions.
A few best practices suggestions mentioned towards the end of the webcast included these points. Which I thought were spot on.

  • Multilevel Deletion - When you delete the e-records … make sure you delete the physical records too.
  • Change Management - Get Execs, LOB managers and Employees involved
  • File Plan - Focus on the File Plan efforts as you move from File Shares to a Search Experience (Hint: smart Tagging WINS)
  • Connection, Communication and Speaking their Language
  • ADOPTION WINS - Get Buy In! Seek the WIIFM factors.
  • Seek an independent voice … they are vendor neutral and can recommend multiple vendors and strategies to drive your business forward … and with good Records Management Policies and Practices. This was a great point from Kevin Parker.
  • Solutions and Tools are a means to an end. Ask the business unit managers, the employees, and other stakeholders what they need and seek to deliver that. Caveat: Sometimes they truly don’t know. Partially because they are not experts in all things legal, business, market conditions, international law, etc. However, by starting with the business requirements Records Managers are on the right path.

Nice work and kudos to Theresa Resek of AIIM, Jo Do and Andrew SanAgustin of Microsoft and Kevin Parker of T.White Parker. Thanks to Microsoft for sponsoring and getting this information out in the wild about how Microsoft Office 365 and SharePoint play in the Records Management world.
One thing is quite clear … This is not your Father’s EIM.

Posted by Mariana Juarez

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