DSC02378 As I sit in the Marriott Circular Quay in Sydney, I’m working on the first draft of my new article for Windows IT Pro on the topic of Electronic Document and Record Management (EDRM) and SharePoint. You might be saying, “Your in Australia, get out and see the sights!”. We’ll, I have, its my third visit here and today its raining.

EDRM is gaining more attention in North America due to questionable business practices that have resulted in increased/ improved legislation especially in regulated industries such as Health Care, Energy and Financial. Compliance risk aside, organizations are becoming more concerned about leveraging their information assets (its competitive out there), improving quality and reliability as well as trimming the fat (Non-relevant data).

Specifically, with the amount of organizational information growing at a phenomenal rate, increased legislation and penalties, many organizations want (must) leverage their information assets to their full advantage to compete and find new avenues, produce information in context to increase usability, increase speed of access to increase usability, assure information quality and trustworthiness through governance, policy and tools. Hence why organizations are adopting toolsets such as EDRM tools for creating a central trusted repository – a key goal of Records Managers.

From experience and conducting research, the roadblocks in meeting that goal are executive sponsorship and enforcement, organizational alignment, confusion over toolsets (EDRM, SharePoint, File Shares), consistent and user relevant classification scheme, usability, not automating capturing (and surfacing) in context and user adoption. Most organizations have islands of EDRM systems in various states of deployment that are generally not delivering the value they promised.Why am I interested in EDRM and SharePoint? Why should you be? SharePoint is disrupting the EDRM market. An important architectural pattern arising in the industry is SharePoint as an EDRMs user interface. Why? With its high cohesion with Office, it’s very easy to use (drives user adoption) and it’s less expensive from a licensing perspective. According to Butler (2008) “SharePoint is designed to help organizations manage content while enabling information workers to communicate and collaborate electronically”. EDRM venders have made attempts to integrate with SharePoint using simple web parts that expose the File Plan and provide varying levels of search integration. I’ve worked with a few of the EDRMs products web part integration and was not impressed. Why? Not true integration – more or less a simple gateway to the EDRM via Web Parts. Not able to take advantage of features such as alerts, Work Flows, Views etc…Indexing performance is generally slow (Doesn’t scale well), the user interface in consistent, stability concerns and provisioning is problematic.

The article will be published in Windows IT Pro October time frame.