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Say It Ain't So, Joe: You Can't Do Records Management in SharePoint

A sober response to a sensational post.

Dear Mr. Shepley:

I have implemented six electronic records management systems from planning to maintenance in my decade-long career. I understand and appreciate electronic records product fatigue. I am so thoroughly familiar with SharePoint 2010 Records Management Services, I’m almost weary of them myself.

The records and information management discipline is so fascinating, though. The uniqueness of each implementation compensates for the shortcomings of the product.

Two years ago, as I struggled to build out my first SharePoint 2010 Records Management development environment, I looked everywhere for inspiration. I read every SharePoint 2010 textbook I could find. As I slowly drew the (correct!) conclusion that they were all GROSSLY insufficient (15 pages? Reheheheeeeally?), I wrote my own. My interpretation covers retention schedule design to RM services maintenance reports.

SharePoint. Sigh.

I’ve read your recent article, Mr. Shepley, on SharePoint 2010 Records Management Services and I find it sensational. However, for the sake of argument, say your point is true: say most organizations aren’t implementing records management enterprise-wide because either “it’s too hard” or “the Records Manager isn’t good.” Two counter arguments immediately spring to my mind.

First, it is not hard to implement records management enterprise-wide. I’ve learned to be my own program sponsor, marketing expert, project manager and implementation analyst. I generate my own momentum. I speak the same way with everyone across my organization. My requests are simple and reasonable. If I’m being brutally honest, I should probably tell you that my favorite word is no.

Second, if a Records Manager doesn’t know how to implement SharePoint 2010 RM Services across the enterprise well, it is because the Records Manager doesn’t have a development environment. It’s the absolute cruelest of juxtapositions: Information Technology asks us to advise them on how to assemble records management in [insert-the-name-of-the-product-here], but the accompanying guide books are crummy at best.

Without my development environment I would never — I repeat: NEVER — have known how to assemble Records Management Services in SharePoint 2010 well. In order to inform Information Technology, I must be informed. I’m a kinetic learner.

Meanwhile, I notice a trend: records and information management is a new home for women in Tech. A mixed blessing: women are being promoted; however, few of these ladies taking over the RIM function have RIM education and training. In lieu of developing their own expertise, they’re apprenticing informally with the established, experienced Records Manager. It remains to be seen whether or not the Records Manager will remain in that corporate culture two years hence.

Please note: I don’t attend ARMA or AIIM events, Mr. Shepley. Frankly, my dear, I no longer have the time.

I love my work. I do it seven days a week and my day often extends past midnight. At the risk of sounding immodest — but you surveyed the industry and declared there were no competent Records Managers out there implementing SharePoint Records Management — yes, I am. I implement out of the box SharePoint 2010 Records Management Services successfully.

Editor's Note: Mimi is passionate about Records Management. To read more of her posts, see Records Management: Retention Schedules Take a Back Seat
 

About the Author

Mimi Dionne is a records and information management project manager and Consultant/Owner of Mimi Dionne Consulting. She is a Certified Records Manager, a Certified Archivist, a Certified Document Imaging Architect, a Certified Information Professional, and a Project Management Professional. She currently resides in Seattle.

 
 
 
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