With two weeks to go before the AIIM/Info360 conference in Washington, companies are already lining up with announcements to catch the eye. One such announcement is from Colligo (news, site) and FileTrail, which have announced a partnership to provide better records management for SharePoint 2010.

Presumably both companies are keeping their powder dry on this one as there are scant few details on what it will produce yet, but the fact that Colligo will be providing email management, and FileTrail is offering physical file capture for SharePoint 2010, should create interest among those who are still not happy with SharePoint’s records management abilities.

Physical, Electronic Records

Combined, the companies say, the new offering, which will be available to clients of both companies as well as their integration partners, will provide a records information management package capable of handling both electronic and physical records for enterprises that are using or plan to use SharePoint2010.

The partnership will enable both companies to offer an integrated solution for physical and electronic records management that handles email, files, documents and physical assets to organizations using SharePoint 2010.

The kicker here, according to Rich Medina, consultant and founder of Doculabs (news, site), is that it will be able to use and manage more and varying types of information by using email and physical records capture.

Colligo, FileTrail

It will do this in two ways. The first way comes from FileTrail, which will allow physical items to be represented in the system and managed in the system like any other content that resides in SharePoint -- something that SharePoint, as well as many other records management systems, aim to do, but don’t necessarily do very well.

From Colligo, users will get integration between Outlook and SharePoint that enables users to move email messages and their attachments to SharePoint and capture the metadata needed for proper record classification and retrieval.

And then, of course, there are the other offerings from Colligo, which has extended the enterprise content management capabilities of SharePoint since forever.

So what you get from both, then, is a records management system capable of managing physical, electronic and email records, moving close to a fully fledged records management system, at least on paper.

SharePoint, Records Management

Leaving aside the fact that there is no mention of social media, and whether the combined system will be able to ingest social media content, and keeping in mind that courts in the US are looking for discovery of social media content in many litigation procedings, is there a tacit recognition here that there is a problem with SharePoint’s records management abilities?

After SharePoint 2010 was released last May, there was a flurry of excitement around the fact that one of the areas that was improved was the records management module, moving it considerably further ahead than SharePoint 2007, whose abilities in this area was generally recognized as being quite weak.

While we took a look at the new abilities and thought they looked good, it is ultimately up to enterprises and their day-to-day experience with it to be the real judges of whether it works.

That said, there have been a number of releases over the past year that have "added" to the native abilities, including those from companies such as HP with Trim, or OpenText, whose SharePoint records management module received DoD 5015.02-STD certification in January.

This would seem to suggest that, while the records management module is better than it was, it is not as good as large enterprises seem to require, particularly in the rapidly changing world of compliance and e-Discovery.

It’s still too early to decide, and to come down on either side of the good-bad argument would be premature without further practical evidence.

As this happens, we’ll take a look at it and see how it all stacks up. However, it is pertinent to note here that the conclusion we reached earlier was that failings in SharePoint do not account for sloppy records management -- after all, SharePoint was never intended to be just that -- but bad planning does, and that’s still the issue many companies still have to deal with.