For those who are not happy with the records management functionality of SharePoint 2010, the latest partnership between Iron Mountain (news, site) and GimmalSoft (news, site) will be welcome as the companies are getting together to develop a means of managing both physical documents and electronic files for SP 2010.

The first thing to say here, and it’s really only a passing thought, is that it seems Iron Mountain has put its recent corporate troubles behind it and got to doing what it does best: Managing information.

The other thing here, and something we have been watching out for some time, is that there appears in this announcement to be an implied acceptance by Microsoft that the upgraded records management abilities that came with SharePoint 2010 didn’t really go far enough.

GimmalSoft, Iron Mountain

The proposed solution will integrate SharePoint 2010 and Iron Mountain’s Accutrac software, offering enterprises a centralized means of access to both paper and electronic documents, as well as managing on- and offsite files, classifying data, applying legal holds and setting retention periods.

Neither company says much more than that about what the joint solution will look like, and we’ll have to wait until October when they’ll demonstrate the new solution at the SharePoint Conference in Anaheim, Calif., but all the features mentioned constitute at least some of the features at the core of a good records management solution.

The two companies combined say they will provide enterprises with the ability to classify and manage physical and electronic files more consistently as well as meeting compliance demands. Again, because no one has seen the combined solution yet, it is impossible to offer any kind of critique of it, but the reaction to the agreement by Microsoft is interesting.

We are excited to partner with the Iron Mountain and GimmalSoft teams to extend the capabilities of SharePoint to meet our need to manage physical records…This unified records management solution will allow people to access and manage all content, both on premises and offsite at Iron Mountain from a common SharePoint interface,“ Nishan DeSilva, a director in the Microsoft Legal and Corporate Affairs Organization said.

Key words there are “extend the capabilities” of SharePoint 2010’s records management capabilities. Maybe it’s going too far to say that there is a criticism of the records management capabilities of SharePoint 2010, but it does seem to suggest that SharePoint is this respect has “done well, could do better.”

Certainly this appears to be what Richard Wilder, senior vice president at Iron Mountain, was saying in the announcement.

Many companies have adopted the use of SharePoint across their organizations and are experiencing difficulty in managing this information in a manner similar to their physical records,” he said.

SharePoint 2010 Records Management Shortcomings

However, this is not the first time that we have come across this. In May, we interviewed Don Lueders about his work with Gimmal (news, site), who suggested that Microsoft was aware of the shortcomings in the records management features in SharePoint 2010, but was depending on its partners to fill the holes.

Among the missing features Lueders cited were unrecoverable electronic record shredding, records transfer functionality, Vital Records management and record-level security, as well as content-based email records management.

It will be interesting to see what Iron Mountain and GimmalSoft come up with in October and how far it extends the SharePoint functionality. Hopefully there will be some indication of what it looks like before then.