Monthly Archives: March 2012

Information management initiatives – who should be in charge after all?

In 2011 PMI and Forrester jointly published a report – “State of PMO”. Although the report was targeting specifically problems that Project Management Offices face, the interesting thing is that the findings are very much relevant to information management implementations. One of the measured factors in the study was the perception of value that PMO brings to organizations and its correlation to the organizational reporting lines. The surprising outcome of the report was that while organizations perceived the PMOs as of high value where they reported to CEO (38%) or CFO (36%), the approval rate dramatically dropped down when PMOs reported to CIO (22%) and VP IS/IT (15%).  This could lead to conclusion that the lines of business either:

  1. distrust IS/IT departments,
  2. perceive IS/IT as detached from the business and not addressing their real problems, or
  3. benefits from IT/IS initiatives are potentially intangible and/or never measured after projects are  completed

I do not have specific numbers for information management initiatives, but experience seems to confirm similar correlation. When information management projects are not driven by the business but rather by IT, they are often observed with distrust, little confidence and support. Indeed, some of the IT/IS information management initiatives focus on technology, with poor understanding of the business processes, goals and operations. If this is true, to improve the odds, they should be conceptualized and driven by the business groups rather than by IT.  Using Pareto principle, maybe 80% of focus should be on business transformation and knowledge management, and 20% on technology. Delivery should still reside within IS but the business should be firmly in the driver’s seat. The recent explosion in collaboration methods, are blurring the boundaries between the external and internal, business and social, stationary and mobile collaboration, bringing new opportunities and challenges. There is no doubt – the cloud computing is going to revolutionize the way how IS and IT departments work today. IT is becoming increasingly a commodity, and some jobs are quickly disappearing, although recent IDC study brought news that cloud services are going to generate 14 million new jobs by 2015. Too bad that they are going to be in some other, cheaper part of the world. This trend will also force redefinition of the role of the CIO – maybe putting ‘Information’ back into the title – changing the focus from the infrastructure and technology to identification, valuation, definition of metrics and the management of the information as any other enterprise asset. I believe that both – shifting of the responsibility for information management initiatives to the business, as well as recognizing that information is the asset will increase success rates of IM initiatives within organizations, leading to improved profits, reduced risks internally and better service to customers externally.

Implementation of Records Management in SharePoint 2010 is not trivial

DecisionRecords management implementation in SharePoint is not a trivial thing. I wrote about this on couple of occasions in the past. Earlier this week there was an interesting presentation from ARMA, expanding on some of these topics.

First of all – SharePoint out-of-the-box implementation will provide only a partial and rather informal – records solution. Many people consider Department of Defense DoD 5015.2 records management requirements as an overkill. This might be true for most of non-governmental organizations, although ARMA identified that of 168 requirements in DoD 5015.2, at minimum 105 are considered as those that make system a robust records management application. SharePoint 2010 satisfies 72 of these requirements. That leaves gap of 33 requirements that needs to be addressed. There are two ways of doing this – getting SharePoint implementation customized or getting a third party add-ons to handle the records management. Both of the solutions have their own pros and cons related to costs, licensing, training and operational support requirements.

Among the issues that need to be addressed are:

–          Centralized file plan, linked to a retention schedule. I wrote about this earlier – this requires usage of records center rather than in-place records management.

–          Securing, management and maintenance of the file plan by the records managers. This includes securing top levels of the file plan hierarchy but with ability to allow delegated departmental records clerks to create and maintain third level of subject and case file folders.

–          Proper disposition process – SharePoint OOTB handles automatic deletions, but disposition process needs to be customized, including records qualification, reviews, approvals, cutoff times, and records state status updates

–          Distinction between the subject records and the case file records. The significant difference between the two is related to the above process, where the entire content of the Document Set in case file record must be disposed at the same time, preventing the users from destroying the record partially.

–          Centralized management of Information Management Policies in SharePoint, due to required security levels. Information Management Gallery is not enough, and this also impacts ability to implement in-place records management, where control of these policies and maintenance of the security becomes quickly impractical.

–          Ability to monitor ingestion of records, their classification status, and retention events. This includes bulk uploads and changes to records metadata. Even on document level it is currently a huge pain in SharePoint.

–          To manage the records across their lifecycle, proper metadata must be collected and updated along their way. The specific records related metadata needs to be defined and implemented during the rollout.

–          MS Outlook integration with ability to declare emails with their attachments as records, and ability to add records specific metadata.

In either case – customization of SharePoint or integration of third party add-ons requires lot of thought planning, and tough decisions making.