Cleaning Up SharePoint Legacy ContentThe idea of cleaning up legacy SharePoint content is daunting. Organizations often place cleanup under the “Nice to Do” column as opposed to the “Must Do” column.

Why not leverage in-house resources? Legacy SharePoint cleanup is a perfect task for the Records Management (RM) department. Reviewing data and applying retention to it are two of our key responsibilities. 

Why Records Management is Right for this Job

This project is an opportunity for records management to demonstrate its worth to the organization. We live in an age of extreme expectation and records management faces a tough, uphill battle because it is a long-term return on investment. This project will result in a significant drop in storage costs and is the right thing for the company – especially from a compliance perspective. Even if the records director is competing against departments who provide a faster and higher rate of return, a compelling argument can be made for legacy SharePoint content cleanup. The records director should gain positive exposure from their project’s results.

Success of this project depends partially on whether or not the records director has an “abandoned records” policy. While records management’s direct ownership of content is eroding in today’s corporate landscape, organizations still expect us to manage data in the traditional sense. Authorizing the records director to shoulder ownership of legacy content (from any storage platform) frees the original content owner or the department surrogate and Information Technology (IT) staff from the decision-making process. An abandoned records policy may extend the authority of the records director, but this approach finally identifies a responsible party and expedites the rate of progress. We want our CIO happy.

How to Tackle the Task Ahead

The typical duration of a legacy SharePoint content cleanup project is two to three months. Make no mistake: because the records management department has too much to do, the records director should hire a consultant to assist with the legacy SharePoint content review. Twenty five percent of one, full-time records staff’s attention should be devoted to this project at the most. IT staff can provide records (and therefore, the consultant) with reports on SharePoint objects that typically contain the following metadata: