Communicating how your organization may implement SharePoint 2010 best is a very delicate message. Clearly communicating the value for every department, while acknowledging their different needs, is an important step in the implementation process. Introduce the language below to market gingerly towards the user community and the project implementation team. Intersperse these phrases in tandem with less records jargon-specific terms.

Archiving

Archiving is an indistinct word that has several (each very different!) connotations: the IT version of transferring data to backup locations, the user interpretation of declaring a record (either in the Records Center or via In-Place Records Management), or the archivist’s long-term perspective on digital storage. Records Management should prepare the SharePoint 2010 project team to address all three.

Authenticity, Reliability, Integrity and Usability

The Records and Information Management standard ISO 15489 outlines the four basic records and information management tenets of authenticity, reliability, integrity and usability. An authentic record is one that can be proven to be what it should be: created or sent by the creator or sender, or created or sent at the moment it was created. In other words, the record isn’t altered once a document is declared to be one. Reliability means the record exists in its correct location. If the record has integrity, the user trusts the record to remain the version they deposited into the Records Center. Usability refers to the record’s value after it is deposited into the central repository. SharePoint 2010’s architectural capability somewhat adeptly supports them. To fill in the deltas, use the records management policy and the retention schedule as the drivers for production environment design.

Availability

When the software’s perceived level of quality drops below its expected value, it is terrifically difficult for the implementation team to recover reputation. Since records content will be stored in SharePoint 2010, its availability is a significant corporate investment that must meet users’ expectations. If the Records Center is utilized, the Records Management team may serve as a facilitator in this issue between the Information Technology and the user community. A continuous, open path of communication will help all parties maintain the best project implementation.

Codify the Company’s Goals & Strategies

The company intranet is a form of self-expression. Each department’s internal functions will be eager to learn more about how the intranet published on SharePoint 2010 may be constructed for their own best interest and use including planned corporate strategies and goals, which should be corporate records. Establishing the Records Center (and the Document Center for reference material) will require some investment into site collection, libraries and records series management. Essentially, departments will create their own equivalent to knowledge management “Communities of Practice,” which may in turn reduce some information silos while honoring carefully constructed boundaries. Hopefully the Records Management team will have an opportunity to impress upon departments SharePoint 2010’s ease of construction.

Consistency

In SharePoint 2010 terms, consistency is another expression for planning logical and topological components, intranet design and information architecture. The records approach must be very objective. A phased overview should outline basic, intermediate, and advanced records services via SharePoint 2010. The records piece should be deliberately focused with an eye towards scalability and applicability to any software the organization chooses to implement.

Content Management Rules and Migration

Content management rules establish what data lives where. If it’s not implemented, then the company’s records retention schedule is a content management policy only. Policy should mature into procedure. While executives may consider the SharePoint 2010 Records Management features superfluous, the records team considers these features the next step in the growth of the schedule. One way to illustrate the benefits of having a retention schedule is to refer to it during the migration of content from MOSS 2007 to SharePoint 2010. The records retention schedule tells the organization what electronic objects should be transferred.

Corporate Agility

SharePoint 2010 offers the most versatility to departments if they each have their own site collection. The company may take advantage of not only the usual features (content databases, pages, libraries, lists, folders, custom metadata views and document storage), but also new innovations: a standardized dictionary of metadata and content types across multiple site collections, a Records Center with corresponding libraries to facilitate 1:1 records transfer, in-place records declaration, syndicated permissions lists, a Document Workspace that will transition records to reference material status at the end of their lifecycles, information policies that manipulate retention periods per records series, options for the destruction process, a legal holds designation, file plan reporting and audit trails.

Faster Retrieval

Key search terms applied to digital objects expedite more prompt search and retrieval. A consolidated metadata dictionary would be a tremendous asset to the organization’s SharePoint 2010 implementation. Enterprise Managed Metadata Service offers two main features: the ability to publish content types and metadata to other site collections and farms and to improve the taxonomy term store. The records implementation plan should include both.

Improved Morale

Records Management traditionally serves as a facilitator between the user community and the IT department. User training in SharePoint 2010 records and information management features will benefit the user community at-large. Indeed, one of the early signs of successful SharePoint training for users will be a significant decrease in the number of basic usability requests to the Help Desk. This is good news: with increasingly sophisticated usability, users will enjoy a more positive records experience.

Measure Volume and Growth Rate of Records

The growth rate of records may be monitored using three calculations:

  • Records Qualification: Are users correctly, appropriately and consistently identifying those objects that are corporate records and should, therefore, be placed under records control? This is expressed as the percentage of total emails/electronic files per user, known to be business records and therefore stored in the Records Center. Based on best practices, the company is looking for an accuracy of 90% or better.
  • Records Declaration: Of the qualified records that were identified, were they in fact being declared? Expressed as the percentage of the known qualified records that are physically and electronically stored, the company is looking for 90%.
  • Records Classification: Did the stored records have the correct retention rule applied? This influences final records disposition and destruction cannot be performed unless the accuracy meets a specified threshold acceptable to records management. Expressed as the percentage of the total records that are known to have the proper retention rule applied, the accuracy rate typically is in the 98% range. The company should routinely check folders to ensure users are declaring records to the proper folder (with the proper retention).

Physical Records Management

For those Records Managers of small to medium-sized companies whose collection is listed in an access database or an Excel spreadsheet, managing hard copy through SharePoint 2010 is a somewhat better alternative. At an individual object level, SharePoint 2010 offers document bar code identification at the moment of records creation; users should have the option of choosing to apply the code if they are so inclined. While RFID tags are not a commercial out of the box feature, third party softwares do integrate easily.

Reduced Costs of Discovery

SharePoint 2010 offers three electronic discovery features: the Discovery and Hold Content page, information and legal hold policies which suspend retention management and Content Organizer Send. In the event of a hold, the Managed Metadata, Term Store and file plan report components can also be used to support e-discovery collection.

Stability

By default, SharePoint 2010 has absolute maximums and list throttling: no more than 5,000 items can be returned from a request at a time. This is customizable to the environment.

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