Debate: Records Management in the Cloud

To highlight their white paper, CMSWire hosted these two divergent essays on the merit of utilizing SharePoint for records management.  Take a peek:

The argument against SharePoint by Joe Shepley:

SharePoint 2007, was supposed to be “records management ready,” but required users to put all their records in a separate area (the records center) to manage them … SharePoint 2010 didn’t get much better. True, you could now manage records in place, but 2010 drove records retention and disposition using content types, which, if you had a few hundred of them, were incredibly cumbersome to work with

The defense of SharePoint by Mimi Dionne:

Two counter arguments immediately spring to my mind.

First, it is not hard to implement records management enterprise-wide … Second, if a Records Manager doesn’t know how to implement SharePoint 2010 RM Services across the enterprise well, it is because the Records Manager doesn’t have a development environment.

From the comments section on Shepley’s article, we found this additional analysis by Mark Jones at Collaboris that’s worth reading as well.

Debating the Utility of the Cloud in Records Management Solutions

When Rutrell Yasin at GCN asks us whether , “…the answer to records management in the cloud,” it appears that he thinks the answer is rhetorical.  He cites a lack of reference in a reference MeriTalk survey on the possibility of cloud computing to addressing inefficiencies, and then points to the success story of the Oregon Records Management Solution, which allows “state, city and county agencies manage and provide access to records in an efficient, uniform manner and will save money on storage, risk and litigation costs,” according to their officials.

While acknowledging the its strengths, industry leader Iron Mountain has warned against thinking of the cloud as a “magic solution,” going on to assert that, “General purpose cloud storage vendors are not focused on the specific needs of ERM implementation, and the services they do provide don’t quite fit those needs.”

As cloud-based solutions grow increasingly prevalent in all sectors, AGi believes that these are conversations that we will need to continue to have, and certainly welcomes any thoughts from our readers!


Record Management and You

AGi has seen two recent posts that look at records management in a way that can be helpful for laypersons or businesses that are just starting to get their bearings around the subject.

The Association for Information and Image Management (AIIM) has a great starting definition for records management drawn from the ISO standard:

ISO standard 15489: 2001 defines Records Management (RM) as the field of management responsible for the efficient and systematic control of the creation, receipt, maintenance, use and disposition of records, including the processes for capturing and maintaining evidence of and information about business activities and transactions in the form of records.

Melissa Strawhecker at Iron Mountain recently posted an amusing anecdote of an interviewee that described records management as “not rocket science.”  The whole post is worth reading, but this sentiment expresses something important for small businesses beginning to hold their records management to a higher standard:

The only difference between records we keep at home and records that we keep for business is that, for the most part, we know how long we need to keep the records at home.  Bank statements can be shredded once all the transactions are cleared, taxes need to be kept for seven years, I keep receipts and warranties (for big purchases) until I no longer have the product or the warranty has expired.

Business records are a little more complicated… all companies should have a records retention schedule that their employees can refer to and determine how long they need to keep things.  The retention periods provided in most records retention schedules are intended to be as short as possible to minimize the volume of records while still complying with all legal, contractual, or operational requirements. Records should neither be kept longer than the periods stated in the schedule, nor should they be destroyed or discarded before the stated retention period expires.