When considering SharePoint or any technology to address document and records management, focus must also be given to those elements that support overall compliance, positioning technology as a tool along with governance, well-designed and documented processes, change management and continuous improvement to monitor and adjust your environment as needed. Technology alone is not the complete answer so neither should SharePoint be considered the complete answer. Questions you must ask are:

Do you have an established taxonomic structure?

What is your metadata strategy?

Is your security aligned properly with your information architecture for managing both physical and electronic

When did you last asses your recovery plan, and have you identified and addressed vital records recovery?

Are your retention policies in line with regulatory guidelines at all levels (multi-national companies will have varying requirements)?

All of these are critical to the establishment and success of an ERM environment. All of these elements must be carefully orchestrated to deliver the greatest benefit and support highest levels of compliance possible. SharePoint is a good technology and can work well as part of your overall ERM toolkit, but is it really enough alone? In my view, the answer is no. There is a whole lot more to a SharePoint implementation than the technology, and this is where many organizations fall short. In order to implement and establish a solid SharePoint environment, it must be understood that SharePoint itself is a tool rather than a solution, which means that organizations planning to or currently using SharePoint need to treat it as any other application and fully understand the purpose of its use in order to be successful. There are four key areas that need to be addressed in relation to implementing SharePoint. These are Assess, Transition, Implement and Sustain.

As you can see, there is a lot more to implementing SharePoint than most expect if it is to be successful. If you are not sure where to begin, seek professional guidance or training and take the appropriate steps now to ensure your future.

What say you? How are you, or have you managed, implementing SharePoint? Do you have a story to tell? I want to hear from you.

BOB LARRIVEE [blarrivee@aiim.org] is director and industry analyst for AIIM. Mr. Larrivee is an internationally recognized lecturer with over 25 years of experience in the application of advanced technologies and process improvement.

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