Planning your Electronic Document & Records Management System in SharePoint – Planning Considerations

3) Planning Considerations

Designing the Information Architecture is only part of the EDRM consultancy exercise. It is also important to decide how your organisation will manage documents and records using SharePoint. Here is a sample of some of the many questions an organisation must consider:

1) Are the documents shared by different parts of the organisation Рif so, who is the owner of the document and where will it be hosted?

2) Identify documents that need to formally be drafted, published and approved. Confirm if a workflow process needs to be used to manage this process.

3) Do publisshed documents need to be made accessible in a common area – perhaps on a SharePoint extranet site?

4) Will your organisation be appying terms to documents and records from a central taxonomy (standard in SharePoint 2010 and available with add-ons from e.g. Smartlogic with SharePoint 2007 and 2010)?

5) Will documents form part of a business process, such as the submission of FOI information requests, or a customer service process?

6) How will your Email System be integrated with SharePoint? Microsoft recommend emails continue to be managed and stored in Exchange/Outlook, although SharePoint information management policies can be applied to emails added to managed folders. However, third-party solutions are available to integrate Outlook with SharePoint. My company, Deltascheme Limited recommend OnePlaceMail from Scinaptic to provide a truly integrated email solution for SharePoint. There are also other options, such as declaring document library as an email address – however only the email attachments are captured.

7) Do you want to scan documents into SharePoint? There are various approaches to capturing paper documents as scanned images into SharePoint. Deltascheme recommend Kofax Capture for batch scanning paper documents. This approach is appropriate where reasonable volumes of documents need to be captured in Mail Rooms or within departments. Ad hoc scanning by users is better managed using available scanner devices, such as Multi-functional Printers (MFP’s), i.e. scanner photocopiers, or low-cost scanners. Deltascheme can provide a simple interface to manage the collection and indexing of ad hoc scanned documents. In Sharepoint 2010 content organizer rules or custom routers can be designed to manage the automatic filing of captured images. There are also add-on tools such as Adlib to manage the capture of images as PDF image+text files, i.e. OCR’d images that support full-text searching.

8)¬†If you choose to implement Records Management capabilities you must decide when a document becomes a record. Each document’s life cycle may be different and can be managed in SharePoint by Content Type. In SharePoint 2007 the standard Records Management capability is limited – the main option is to send a copy (or through customisation) move a document from its document library to a central Records Centre site. In SharePoint 2010 things are more sophisticated – you can declare a document as a record in situ – called ‘In-Place Records Management’, or copy/move a document to one of multiple Records Centres. Declaring a document as a record will preserve it, preventing changes or its deletion until its end of life. The final stage of a record’s life – called a ‘Final Disposition’ is defined by the record’s retention schedule – configured as an information management policy on the Content Type. Common final dispositions will be the deletion or archiving of the record after a set period of time, such as 7 years after the last modified date.

There are many other considerations that a SharePoint consultant versed in EDRM technology will also wish to discuss and help guide you through.