Published: 28 May 2021

Reading time: About 4 minutes

Yesterday we held an informative roundtable event about building SharePoint Online as a document and records management system. 

During the Q&A, we covered the benefits, challenges, tips for implementing it successfully, the governance plan, utilising the file plan, user change management, integration with the rest of the M365 suite, and so much more… in just a one- hour session! 

Here’s a snippet of what each of our panellists had to say: 

In order for SharePoint Online to be employed as an EDRMS, it needs to be implemented so it’s accessible to the widest base of users 

“Old platforms were fantastically rigid in terms of records management as we made the transition from paper to digital, but what they didn’t include was the end user. For Records Management to be successful, it has to be built around the people that are creating the records. If we don’t get that part right, then we lose that frictionless creation and management of recordsand we end up with silos or records not being managed in a way that are open to everybody. Whave to consider how to make SharePoint something that is very fluid, dynamic, drives collaboration, drives proper process, but equally mandates the Records Management standards that we need as far as we can within the platform. There is work to be done to employ it as a full EDRMS, and I think the work is typically around framing SharePoint in a way that makes it accessible for allso that it can be fully adopted and integrated.” 

Simon Cole, CEO 

 The file plan is one of the core parts of a successful EDRMS roll-out – the roadmap for how to manage records 

Often when we think about the file plan, we think of it as a structure for displaying the documents to the end user, but in reality, it goes way beyond that. In fact, file plans are one of the main factors in how we design the EDRMS solution. Whave to ask questions such as what items the organisation considers a record and what types of documents are storedIn a userfriendly and useable system, any EDRMS should indicate the period of retention and the retention actions for information workers. Unless all this information is visible to the end user in an easytofind way, in one single place, they won’t embrace the technology and adopt the EDRMS system.” 

Kiran C, Senior SharePoint Consultant  

 Keep three main components in mind when building your SharePoint Online Information Architecture 

  •  Security: who can see what and who has access to what 
  • Retention: how long should stuff be held on to, and when should it be disposed of 
  • Navigation: (this is probably the most commonly missed one) – how easily can I get to the data I want to see? The power of enterprise search is really coming into the fore so rather than navigating down 60 hierarches”, we type in a term and get all results backPart of the change management is breaking that old habit! 

Seamus Stowe, Senior SharePoint Consultant  

The end job is about people doing their jobs and it needs to be as painless as possible, but all while doing it with good governance.   

One of the things about unstructured data is that users have a lot of control over where that data goesthey can put it in the wrong place, and they can treat it inappropriately, so they have to understand that. Equally, you don’t want to make the platform inhospitable for them to work within by protecting itSo, it all comes back down to governance; who is using the sites, why are they being used, who needs to have access to them; and what kind of data is in there. That’s all part of the governance model and the Information Architecture is going to be based on that governance plan. 

Paul Hudson, Head of Product Strategy  

Keen to hear more from Simon, Kiran, Seá or Paul about Records Management in SharePoint Online?  

Head over to our event page, where you can watch the highlights and the full session back on-demand! 


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