Records Management in SharePoint

Matthew Pearson
Matt, SharePoint Consultant for
Entrance Software
November 11, 2011

Do you know the value of your business records?  Does your business need to comply with federal regulations such as HIPAA or Sarbanes-Oxley?  Do you stand ready for an audit without pulling manpower from daily operational tasks to hunt through piles of unorganized information?  An often overlooked business process is that of records management, and understandably so.  Until an auditor or lawyer shows up at your door there is typically no immediate consequence of a poor file plan.

SharePoint has the features you need to build a comprehensive and effective file plan to suit your needs.  Listed below are some of these features:

  • Content Organizer: The records router can use metadata to route incoming documents to the right place in the hierarchical file plan.  For instance, it enables you to automatically enforce rules on content that is submitted, like “If a Purchase Agreement is tagged with Project Alpha, send to the Alpha Contracts subfolder and apply that folder’s retention policy to the item.”
  • Document ID: Every document can be assigned a unique identifier, which stays with the document even when it’s archived.  This allows records to be easily referenced by an ID no matter where the document moves.
  • Multi-Stage Retention: Retention policies can have multiple stages, allowing you to specify the entire document lifecycle as one policy (e.g. review Contracts every year, and delete after 7 years)
  • Per-Item Audit Reports: You can generate a customized audit report about an individual record.
  • Hierarchal File Plans: You can create deep, hierarchal folder structures and manage retention at each folder in the hierarchy (or inherit from parent folders).
  • File Plan Report: You can generate status reports showing the number of items in each stage of the file plan, along with a rollup of the retention policies on each node in the plan.
  • Taxonomy and Centralized Content Types: The archive will be a consumer of enterprise-wide taxonomies and content types, ensuring consistency and context transfer between the collaborative spaces and the archive.

Organizing your business records can provide an outstanding return on investment by spending less time organizing, storing, and retrieving information, allowing your workforce to do just that – work!  Combine this single feature of SharePoint with the many others it offers and you can see the outstanding value that a well-designed SharePoint implementation can provide to your business.

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