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09 February 2009


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As with all software packages, it is impossible to meet the needs of every user. SharePoint web parts are a great way to provide tools and options to these people.

From organisational and departmental charts that help with all communication aspects in the business, to web parts that allow company news to be efficiently distributed, these products truly enhance a user’s overall experience, and meet their requirements.

Mary Ann

We have just commenced using Sharepoint. Mainly as a collaborative tool but I am expecting it to be used more widely as it becomes more accepted by the organisation. I wanted to respond to some of your questions.

File Plans - overrated.
I know that all the standards say you need a classification/taxonomy/file plan but SharePoint allows you to assign metadata to documents/libraries/lists in such a way that users can view the information in whatever way suits them - not via a file plan that often has no meaning to users (only to RM staff) File plans were popular and useful because they offer one way of looking at the information an organisation has but it is only one way of looking at the information. Information can be grouped together in many different ways if you have the right metadata.

SharePoint Sprawl - absolutely - a real risk. The IT team responsible for our deployment have established standards for the depolyment across the organisation. All sites/pages/libraries/lists will have the same look and feel no matter where you work or what information you are managing.

Applying retention schedules - haven't done this yet but we have already agreed with our IT SharePoint team that we will probably need to "roll up" some of our disposal classes - that is we may need to retain some short term records longer than the minimum because they are in the same library as longer term records. We will live with that. I have a problem with using the lists for permanent records as these can't be archived currently yet lists seem the perfect solution to manage our statutory registers.

SharePoint is primarily a collaborative tool - there is a risk that records could be deleted. We have discussed this with our SharePoint team. There are options such as removing/hiding the delete option, making the libraries read only once the event/project/financial year has passed. Currently there doesn't seem to be a method for placing a hold on records that need to be quarrantined for legal purposes.

I found the version control difficult. Given the state of IT literacy in our organisation we have agreed only to promote version control where it is vital. Otherwise we encourage sharing documents via the use of links.

The use of "My Site" and some of the other features i think are quite exciting however we are not have much uptake from our staff. We have established feedback forums - been a bit of a failure, knowlegebases - a bit more of a success, a corporate wide calendar system showing all the corporate eventsincluding training - seems popular.


The RM industry is moving into a more federated world. One of which there already are many front ends to choose from (SharePoint / SAP-HR / Siebel / vendor front ends such as Filenet Livelink Documentum / bespoke systems to manage Physical Items / etc / etc). The key to all of these front ends is to embrace them all. This is how the users want to work... and rightly so.
Records managers should be less concerned with their structure. They should be more concerned with ensuring that the records from these front ends are stored in a file plan. This is done with
- integration
- auto classification based upon metadata
- user selection (transaction value)
The best solution for the short/medium term is that these documents and records will remain in their native application, but be managed by the file plan by means of an integration. This integration will manage the lifecycle and deletions. Events will be managed by the front end or the file plan.
So no, the solution will not stop at SharePoint nor will Google become an immediate threat. There are solutions out there that tackle your concerns documented above are already addressed including MoReq "compliance".
Organisations can use many front ends, but one file plan. The file plan doesn't need to be (that) navigable, the front ends do.

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