e-Records 2017: “Establishing Information Governance for Local Governments in Microsoft SharePoint and Office 365”

This is the fourth post of a multi-part recap of the 2017 e-Records Conference. Presentation materials from the conference are available on the e-Records 2017 website.

  1. Information Governance: Take Control and Succeed
  2. The Public Information Act and Updates from the 85th Legislative Session
  3. TSLAC Wants Your Electronic Records
  4. Establishing Information Governance for Local Governments in Microsoft SharePoint and Office 365

Alexander Webb and Julia Johnson waiting to present at this years e-Records Conference.

In a presentation at this year’s conference, Alexander Webb and Julia Johnson from the Capital Metropolitan Transportation Authority (Cap Metro) showed us how to apply Information Governance to a SharePoint implementation. Mr. Webb and Ms. Johnson used the ARMA Principles® as framework for the SharePoint system, which were created by ARMA International to provide a standard of conduct for governing information within organizations. There are eight Principles® which can be easily remembered by this mnemonic: A.T.I.P.C.A.R.D. – Accountability, Transparency, Integrity, Protection, Compliance, Availability, Retention, and Disposition. To learn more about the Principles visit ARMA International Principles.

Here are a few key points for each principle as they were given in the presentation.

  • Accountability – Delegation of responsibilities for the management of information.
    • Plan, plan, plan and document, document, document, everything.
    • Involve your stakeholders in your Information Governance Plan.
    • Decide upfront whether to use On Premises SharePoint or Office 365 SharePoint.
    • Develop your site structure, determine permissions and include in policies.
  • Transparency – Ensure organizations’ business processes and activities are documented and verifiable.
    • Train everyone.
    • Continue training users, site owners, and new staff.
  • Integrity – Guarantee authenticity and reliability.
    • When moving records between libraries in SharePoint, the integrity of the document could be altered.
    • Establish a clear version policy; too many versions can bog down the site.
    • Develop quality assurance and control standards.
  • Protection – Ensure the safety of the organization’s information.
    • Permissions are a great way to safeguard the confidentiality of records.
    • Document your permissions and include a clear hierarchy of security.
  • Compliance – Comply with laws, requirements, and statues.
    • Stakeholder involvement is required as the Subject Matter Experts (SME’s).
    • To ensure compliance, perform an audit on the system.
    • Set up retention rules in SharePoint.
    • Establish Content Types that are flexible.
    • Create ways to track the information that is added to the system and provide regulatory reporting.
  • Availability – Ensure timely, efficient and accurate retrieval of organizations’ information.
    • When searching in SharePoint, establish constant naming conventions.
    • Run Optical Character Recognition (OCR) on PDF documents prior to loading into the system.
    • Consult your stakeholders to ensure metadata and naming conventions are accurate.
    • Consistency is key.
  • Retention – Organizations are responsible for maintaining information in accordance with legal, regulatory, fiscal, operations, and historical requirements.
    • Ensure all legal requirements are followed and consult your business units while keeping in mind the record life cycle.
    • Select either In-Place Retention or Records Center Retention; using both can become confusing to the users.
  • Disposition – Ensure proper disposition for information that is no longer required while in compliance with applicable laws and organizations policies.
    • Automatic retention policies in SharePoint do not document before deletions are done.
    • A 3rd party tool will be required when documenting the deletion.
    • Manual deletion is an option, but if you have thousands of records you might want to invest in a 3rd party tool.

SharePoint Office 365’s “right out of the box” functions and options are geared towards manual processing and can be a cost-effective tool in maintaining your organizations’ records. If you are considering SharePoint for your records storage depository, these points for using the Principles® will hopefully assist you in implementation.

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