The State of the Art in Records Management – Part 2

By Mark Mandel posted 09-12-2012 12:23


In my previous blog, the State of the Art in Records Management – Part 1, I discussed the new market drivers for records management:

  • eDiscovery
  • Audit Readiness
  • Big Bucket Retention Schedules
  • The New Definition of a Record
  • The Obama Managing Government Records Directive

In this blog, I will cover the vendor response to these new market drivers.

As recently as five years ago, customers often had to build custom integrations between “best of breed” products to achieve an enterprise class solution for ECM and RM.  This approach is expensive, and once accomplished it is expensive and difficult to modify, expand or upgrade.  It did work, however, and the resulting solutions often provided significant return on investment.  The challenge with these systems is to adapt to rapidly changing technology and new market drivers.

Over the past five to ten years there has been a frenzy of acquisitions by the major players, resulting in market consolidation.  IBM, OpenText, EMC, Oracle, and HP have now consumed most of the independent vendors in the Enterprise Content Management space.  For example, IBM purchased Tarian Software, FileNet and DataCap; EMC purchased Documentum and Captiva; HP purchased Autonomy and Tower Software; OpenText purchased Hummingbird, Metastorm, Captaris, Vignette, RedDot and Global 360, and Oracle purchased Stellant and Fatwire (this is only a small sample).  Over 100 formerly independent vendors are now consolidated into the top five.

Many of those custom integrations have been affected by the market consolidation.  Some of those best of breed products are now owned by different companies and future compatibility with custom solutions may be in question.

As a result of market consolidation, major vendors are now offering comprehensive ECM suites that offer a broad set of features and functions.  Customers can purchase those suite components they need, and they can add others as needed without (theoretically) having to develop significant custom integrations.

Some of the key feature sets now available as components, or “modules”, of ECM Suites include:

  • Records Management as a component of a larger ECM solution
  • Combination of Electronic and Physical Records Management, with DoD 5015.2
  • Email Archiving and Email Management, with Records Management (Exchange, Lotus Notes, GroupWise and now Google)
  • Integration with MS SharePoint and MS Office
  • Business Process Management, Workflow, Business Process Analysis
  • Auto Classification
  • Litigation Holds, Litigation Support
  • Enterprise Storage Architecture
  • Document Management with Version Control
  • Integration with Key Business Applications such as SAP and Oracle
  • Basic and Advanced Search, Full Text Search
  • Advanced Reporting and Business Analytics
  • Digital Asset Management
  • Web Content Management, Portals
  • Social Media Management and Governance
  • Mobile Extensions to phones and tablets
  • Capture of paper, fax, and electronic input streams
  • Electronic Forms, E-Signature
  • Output Management
  • On Premise or Cloud Hosting

This suite approach is designed to allow customers to address the full complement of requirements, driven by the market drivers outlined in Part 1 of this blog, using a homogenous set of modules.  Users can implement point solutions and add new applications without having to re-architect the infrastructure.  Customers can purchase the various components from a single vendor and thus manage contracts and support much more easily.  Software upgrades (again, theoretically) can be managed in a much more harmonious manner because the components are all from the same code or solution base.

This is all good news for organizations that are planning to implement enterprise solutions.  Technology has kept up with the new market drivers and vendors are offering solution suites that address user needs.  For Federal agencies that are making plans to move to a completely digital records environment by 2019, as the new NARA/OMB directive mandates, the available solutions are ready to meet the opportunity.  Customers must challenge their vendors during the selection process to prove that all of these components do indeed work together as advertised.

Having said all that, successful solutions are not based on technology alone.  Clear requirements, budget, resources, change management, operational support, training and all of the intangibles are necessary to make deployments as successful as envisioned.

In this new technology suite, Records Management becomes an integrated component of the overall solution.  Ideally records classification is performed automatically upon indexing of content within a business process. 

The new Big Bucket Retention Schedule facilitates efficient use of automated technologies to classify records. Automated tools such as Auto Classification are used to classify large volumes of content such as email and file shares.  Business transactions are automated using Business Process Management, and all related documents and email are automatically stored and classified.

User classification of content, strictly for Records Management purposes, is kept to a minimum.  Information Governance is applied when content is created, captured or ingested, making RM part of the DNA of business applications. 

Email, instant messages, social media, correspondence of all types, reports, and more are all managed by the solution, including physical files.  Searches are media neutral, and when electronic content is located it can be retrieved if a user has the proper system privileges.  If the content is a physical file, then the system should indicate the location of the file and offer check out and check in features.

All business transactions, if the system is fully implemented, include a full audit trail of ancillary original documents that facilitate audits, FOIA requests, and discovery. 

Public or customer facing transactions provide better customer service.

Elimination of paper from the organization, as mandated by the Obama directive for Federal agencies, results in very significant cost savings – for storage, staffing, user productivity, and transaction cycle times. Fully digitized records and business processes result in shorter cycle times and huge productivity and cost savings.

So, as you can see, the new market drivers are being addressed by technology in a way that makes it quite reasonable to implement enterprise wide solutions that provide a rapid return on investment with a high rate of success, establishing an infrastructure that can evolve and grow over time. 

#ScanningandCapture #InformationGovernance #RM #ECM #ElectronicRecordsManagement #Records-Management #Collaboration #EnterpriseContentManagement
1 comment


10-11-2012 11:08

It might say: "Information Governance is applied when content is created, captured or ingested, making RM part of the DNA of business applications." Since that's my mantra (at least at work....). Excellent post as always, Mark.