September 30, 2015

SharePoint Records Management: 3 Must Haves in Hybrid Deployments

4 minute read

SharePoint Records Management can be a daunting task. It’s difficult to manage and even more difficult to see what’s going on. In addition to this, managing records and information in a hybrid deployment, where an organization uses both SharePoint On-Premise and SharePoint Online, only makes the task more difficult.

Let’s take a look at the 3 “must haves” that a third-party solution should provide to solve the major hurdles of SharePoint Records Management, especially in hybrid deployments.

1) Centrally Managed File Plan

SharePoint Records Management provides many ways to define policies which can be applied to documents.

You can define them…

  • At the site collection level, then associate them to site or library content types
  • At the site content type level, then associate the content types to libraries
  • At the library content type level
  • At the library level
  • At the folder level

That is a lot of places to configure policies, and when doing this in a hybrid deployment, this work must done in two places. Then with each change to the file plan, the duplication of effort multiplies.

Once policies have been defined, it is even more difficult to visualize the SharePoint Records Management configuration. SharePoint allows a report to be generated as a Microsoft Excel file for each library, but you can imagine how tedious it would be to manually generate this file for each library, in each environment, with each change to the file plan.

What is really needed is a central location where the plan can configured and applied to content regardless of where it resides. The policies should be defined once and applied everywhere. After being defined, they should be easily visualized, in real-time, without having to generate a report. We refer to this feature as a Centrally Managed File Plan, and it is absolutely necessary in a hybrid deployment.

2) Consolidated Inbox

In order to conduct disposition in SharePoint using the built in workflow, you receive “approval” tasks in a SharePoint Task List for each document. This means that there will be one or more task lists in every site being managed, making it very hard to approve items or perform a related task in a document’s lifecycle. If you add SharePoint Online to the mix, you have the same issue presented in both environments. That is a lot of task lists to deal with.

What is necessary is a single, consolidated view of all tasks that you are responsible for. This list should be from both SharePoint and SharePoint Online and should only display tasks relevant to you. This feature is referred to as a Consolidated Inbox and without it, it is extremely time consuming to complete lifecycle actions, especially in a hybrid deployment.

3) Universal Monitoring and Reporting

Neither SharePoint nor SharePoint Online provide a good way to visualize the SharePoint Records Management process. It is hard to know if your users are participating in the process accurately and effectively. It is also hard to know where your records exist. In a hybrid environment, it is even harder because you have information in both platforms. In order to know what is going on, a solution should provide a feature known as Universal Monitoring and Reporting.

Universal Monitoring and Reporting provides a look into what information exists, what platform it resides, and where the information is in its lifecycle. It should also provide expected vs actual classification rates, so that you can determine if the SharePoint Records Management process is on track. In addition, there should be an easy way to create views into the process through custom reports if necessary.

Without the 3 SharePoint Records Management “must haves,” Centrally Managed File Plan, Consolidated Inbox, and Universal Monitoring and Reporting, it is hard to manage records and information in SharePoint, especially a hybrid environment where everything you do requires duplication. Using the above features, you can eliminate duplication, optimize your efforts, and visualize what is happening in real-time. This greatly simplifies and enhances the overall SharePoint Records Management experience.

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