Amending Oleson & Wagner’s 2007 SharePoint governance plan from a Records perspective (Part 2)

By Mimi Dionne posted 07-28-2010 13:42


I often find myself looking at a records system for what’s NOT captured therein. When I find the gaping holes, I try to determine why--especially without directly asking why. Firewalls amongst departments and functions? Political silos driven by personality conflicts amongst department heads? Unintentional exclusion? Until the advent of MOSS 2007, the electronic records implementation elephant-in-the-room was that mostly Records Management departments only use their own Records software. Somewhere between the needs analysis and the implementation, the Records project waters muddied. I think MOSS 2007 helped bring IT closer to Records. The challenge: by and large Records wasn’t consulted.

The Executive Summary of Oleson & Wagner’s template offers a Future Direction segment (very nice!) comprised of a series of boldface questions. Directly from the template:

  • How do we improve business processes and how do we deliver on that?
  • What structures need to be in place to deliver this value?
  • What areas of the business offer the most opportunity for growth?
  • How can we align our activities with the goals of the business?
  • Are there synergies that can be created between divisions and departments?
  • What groups are doing similar initiatives and how can we help?
  • What ways can we reduce inefficiencies and duplication?

A great deal of allusion to a Records and Information Management perspective. You know me, though—I like the high-level overview to be more explicitly mapped to RIM. I would include, but not limit the team to, the following:

  • Does our culture support the connection amongst information warehouses?
  • What data from legacy records and information management implementations should we migrate to our new platform?
  • Will our MOSS 2007 environment provide structure for currently unstructured data?
  • What kind of file formats will we permit and exclude here?
  • What stipulations can we use to curtail massive, overnight growth?

I don’t believe these questions are scope creep or better purposed elsewhere. These are the right questions to ask in the beginning. I know because I’ve seen the consequences of NOT asking these Records-related questions at the start of the project several times over.

Observe: typically IT asks the correct what-is-a-record questions; they embrace the retention schedule (and bravo to them for doing so); they post a copy of the Records policy and procedures in the conference room. As the day unfolds, they realize: the retention rules and architecture of potential records locations are two very different animals. The data mapping exercise begins to flounder—sometimes achieving a modicum of success, sometimes not. They quickly come to the (forgive me) cheap conclusion that there’s not enough resources to discern what is a record or not within IT, so everything is migrated. They conclude the meeting. This short-term perspective has long-term consequences. The train is moving, however, at a rate of speed that is shockingly hard to curtail…

Dear IT team: I don’t know the answer to the questions above at the start of the implementation either, but I’m game to try if you would include me. I’ll respect the opportunity. I do my homework. I think about everything that we should be asking from a Records and Information Management view. Allow me to debate you respectfully, however—what I have to say will at first seem painful, but will have a Records vision, too. And please, continue to invite me as you make architecture decisions. I promise to educate myself as fast as I can so I can comment properly. But let’s walk out of the room with an implementation solution coupled with RIM long-term benefits.

#RIM #SharePoint #ElectronicRecordsManagement