Waiting for MoReq 2010: What Should We Do Now?

By Marc Fresko posted 07-29-2010 10:01

  

An Inforesight Management Paper

The MoReq2010 project is now in progress.  MoReq2010, a brand new version of MoReq, is due to replace MoReq2.  But the project is running late. We don’t know when MoReq2010 will be fully available, we don’t know what it will contain, and we don’t know how it will be received.  So if you are planning on using MoReq, what should you do: use MoReq2?  delay your plans and wait for MoReq2010?  give up on MoReq entirely and use some other standard?  This paper is Inforesight’s advice on how you should react.  First, a summary; then the detail.

SUMMARY

  • Assume MoReq2010 will not be complete before 2011.
  • No matter who you are, if you are interested in MoReq you should take part in the consultation process.
  • If you are a software vendor, focus your efforts on MoReq2010.
  • If you are a user wanting to use MoReq, don’t wait for MoReq2010.  Continue to use MoReq2 for now.  It remains as valid as before, and it will be a long time before using MoReq2010 makes sense.
  • If you are an educator, continue to use MoReq2.  It remains as valid as before, and it will be a long time before using MoReq2010 makes sense.

How Late is MoReq2010?
As recently as 2009, the DLM Forum’s stated intention was to have an outline of MoReq2010 ready for its AGM in May  2010, with a final version in September.  That did not happen – instead, the AGM was were treated to a presentation that repeated all the information about MoReq2010 seen months earlier.  In fact, by the AGM, the initial consultation had not even started.  We were then told to expect a start to the consultation in mid-June, but that did not happen either.  June came and went, without a start to the consultation; eventually the consultation was launched on 9th July (despite a claim to an earlier start on the consultation portal).  The objective then was to publish the final version by the end of 2010.

It is still possible that all or part of MoReq2010 will be complete by the end of December 2010 – but it is more likely that it won’t be fully published until 2011.  And of course that is only the publication of the specification – MoReq2010-compliant software will not be widely available before late 2011.  Hopefully, certifications of MoReq2010 compliance will follow without delay, but this will only happen if MoReq2010 turns out well, and if the DLM Forum manages to agree on a compliance testing scheme.  So our first advice is:

  • Expect a complete MoReq2010 specification package in early 2011.
  • Expect MoReq2010-compliant software to be available from late 2011.
  • Expect certified MoReq2010-compliant software in late 2011 or early 2012.

 

Our reaction to this timetable depends on whether you are a software vendor or not.

Software Vendors
If you want, you can continue to develop software for MoReq2-compliance.  Continued attention to MoReq2 will result in more powerful software – something which can distinguish your product from competing products.  MoReq2 compliance testing is still available, and if you obtain certification you will have a credential that is very rare in the marketplace.  Its rarity is a selling point for your software – but perhaps not much of a selling point, because users are understandably reluctant to demand something so rare.

Realistically, most vendors should aim to move their offering towards MoReq2010 compliance.  A major thrust of MoReq2010 is to produce an accessible specification that is popular with vendors. If this succeeds, you will be at a great competitive disadvantage if you do not offer compliant MoReq2010-certified software at an early stage.

So, you need to start work on MoReq2010 as soon as possible.  That means taking an active part in the MoReq2010 consultation process, as soon as it starts – remember, you can influence the direction and content of MoReq2010 by taking part (see below).  Even if you do not contribute, keep a close eye on what is happening, to drive your development plans – at a minimum, monitor the consultation portal weekly.  Sign up for the consultation, and contribute actively and quickly – the consultation periods are set to be short. Then work towards MoReq2010 compliance as fast as possible, and apply for compliance certification.

Vendors should:

  • Join the MoReq2010 consultation process.*
  • Monitor the MoReq2010 consultation portal frequently.
  • Contribute actively, and fast, to the consultation process, to shape MoReq2010.
  • Base development efforts on MoReq2010.
  • Seek MoReq2010 certification as soon as possible.

System users and Educators

If you are using MoReq to specify or procure a system, or as an aid to teaching records management, you have two options: delay your plans and put your projects on hold until MoReq2010 is available; or continue to use MoReq2 until MoReq2010 is available.

Putting projects on hold is risky.  We do not know for sure when MoReq2010 will arrive, and we know even less what will be in it (see below).  There are virtually no cases in which a delay to wait for the new version of MoReq makes sense.

By contrast, it makes perfect sense to continue relying on MoReq2 because everything in it remains as valid as the day it was published.  The fact that the MoReq2010 project has started does not make any difference, as MoReq2010 will replace MoReq2 but it does not invalidate it in any way.

Finally, there remains of course a risk that MoReq2010 will have some serious shortcomings, either in its timing, in its content, or in its adoption by the vendor community.  So waiting for MoReq2010 means waiting for an unknown.  If you stick with MoReq2, at least its strengths, weaknesses and status are well known and understood. This is another reason for continuing to use MoReq2 for the next few months.

If you care about electronic records management, you should also take this opportunity to sign up for the MoReq2010 consultation process.  Then play your part – contribute to the consultation as you can.

System users and educators should:

  • Continue to use MoReq2 until the content and acceptance of MoReq2010 become clear.
  • Join the MoReq2010 consultation process.
  • Monitor the MoReq2010 consultation portal frequently.
  • Contribute actively, and fast, to the consultation process, to shape MoReq2010.

IS MOREQ2 NOW OBSOLETE?
No. 

There is nothing actually wrong in MoReq2.  it is just rather complex and all-embracing.  You can still use MoReq2 – but if you do, you need to realise that there is very little software available that can demonstrate full MoReq2 compliance.  The complete MoReq2 is just too complicated for some of the “real world” to cope with.

WHAT WILL BE IN MOREQ2010?
This is a big unknown – the structure and shape of MoReq2010 are even less clear than its timing.  This is because:

  • A key objective of MoReq2010 is to create a specification that is simpler and shorter than MoReq2.  This is to be achieved by reducing the size of the mandatory core, and shunting many requirements from the core to non-core or optional status.  Unfortunately, looking at MoReq as a whole, this can only result in a longer MoReq.  While the core will be smaller and simpler, the specification as a whole can only be longer if it is to retain any semblance of compatibility with MoReq2.
  • The declared intention is to remove from the mandatory core everything that is not actually essential for managing records.  This means that the core specification could end up being very simple indeed, but without any requirements for practicality or usability.  That might be very popular with vendors, but would be a disaster for users, as it would lead to software that works in theory but that is unusable in real life.  It is precisely these requirements that made MoReq2 so long.
  • The MoReq2010 consultation is raising the prospect of major, revolutionary, changes.  This means that MoReq2010 may be radically different, not just a simplification and evolution from MoReq2 – but nobody knows.  The development will be guided by “crowdsourcing” consultations rather than being the subject of a pre-existing intellectual framework.  In other words, anything could happen.  At one extreme, MoReq2010 could be a simple evolutionary development of MoReq2; at the other, it may be revolutionary and radically different from anything else.

Will MoReq2010 be fit for purpose?  Most probably it will.  Its developer is exceptionally able and knowledgeable.  But the emphasis on crowdsourcing, the lack of a vision, the short consultations, the focus on vendors’ needs and the desire to remove non-essential requirements combine to present clear risks.

Inforesight is an independent consultancy established to provide top-quality consultancy advice and services in Information Management.  Based in the UK, with clients in several other countries, Inforesight is totally independent of all solutions providers.  Inforesight is ideally suited to provide the best impartial advice on MoReq, electronic records management and other aspects of Information Management.

Inforesight maintains the MoReq Collateral website at http://moreq2.eu. Visit the collateral site for news about MoReq and many dozens of useful articles, presentation materials, videos, and other resources about MoReq.



#ElectronicRecordsManagement #MoReq2010 #MoReq2
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