December 18, 2019

Does O365 Really Do It All?

7 minute read

Imagine you’ve just been given the directive to “manage our stuff in O365 so we can minimize our storage, and actually find things”. Kind of open ended, right? What do they mean by “stuff”? What about “manage”? Maybe they are more specific and tell you the organization needs to be able to manage e-mail and apply legal discovery holds. What do these terms actually mean, and how can we go about implementing a solution to address them? 

 What we’re actually talking about is records and content management. Knowledge of this field is a spectrum; on one end is me several years ago where I, only slightly jokingly, thought a record was like a really big CD. On the other end may be actual record managers who know everything there is about managing records’ lifecycles and disposition. However, what this doesn’t include is knowledge of the tools available to accomplish your particular set of requirements (both explicit and implied), and how to go about implementing and using them to address your goals. In short, we don’t know what we don’t know. 

 O365 is a great platform that can do some really useful things. Given enough time and money we can configure or customize it to do just about anything we wantHowever, think about the time and monetary investment that would require – if the wheel has already been designed and built, why take the time to build your own, especially if the builders of that wheel have multiple kinds that you may be able to take advantage of? This is the real point– does O365 really do what you need it to, right out of the gate? It’s possible, but I think unlikely if you’re an Enterprise-sized organizationGimmal products provide 59 records management capabilities, of those O365 only does 14, a few of them in a limited manner.  

 “Ok, but so what? I only need to get rid of documents once they reach a certain age!” you might be thinking. A valid question. I would ask you to think about a few things, lest you think that is the only question you need to answer: 

  1. What is the starting point for the age of these documents? A contract that begins to age once it’s initially written probably makes less sense than beginning to age once it expires. Once you’ve identified those differing ages and starting points, how do you apply them? Gimmal software provides central management hubs to make the application and management of these policies easier, more efficient, and more reliable. In addition, while O365 only allows for using a Date property as the aging starting point, Gimmal software allows using events, property based conditions, and even exotic combinations of these triggers to initiate content aging. 
  2. Do all of your documents have the same age before you need to get rid of them? If there are different ages for your documents, how do you identify them? A robust taxonomy, or at least some sort of taxonomical organization, is necessary for this identification. Once you have that taxonomy how do you enforce it, without making the process so onerous that your user base revolts? Gimmal tools can do this for you behind the scenes so your users can focus on actual work. 
  3. Where do your documents live? O365 doesn’t include the native ability to manage documents external to itself. Gimmal software allows you to manage documents in a number of other repositories, including SharePoint, O365, on-premises file shares, Documentum, and several others from a single dashboard 

 Ultimately, the only way to know if O365 alone is sufficient is by asking these questions and analyzing what the implementation of your requirements actually entails. The risk of discovering too late that you are missing a critical tool because you didn’t think beyond the “good enough” stage is too high to be dismissed. 

 For a more detailed analysis of the robust records management capabilities Gimmal can add to O365, contactGimmal representative for a customized demo.  

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