I just read an article in the midmarket CIO section of TechTarget reporting on Forrester’s finding that SharePoint is gaining market share in Records Management.

The finding is surprising because SharePoint 2007 has some "significant shortcomings" when it comes to records management (RM), said Hill and others. While miles ahead of its portal-centric 2003 version, SharePoint 2007 is a less-than-ideal tool for the exacting task of maintaining records -- from paper, digital documents and databases to physical objects -- throughout their lifecycle. Missing features include:

  • Physical records management -- for example, the ability to apply retention policies to warehouse boxes.
  • Federated records management, or the ability to apply controls to objects in other repositories.
  • Department of Defense certification for records management, (DoD 5015.2-STD V3), required by many federal and other agencies of business partners.

This is only surprising if you think of SharePoint as an out of the box solution. If you plan on using SharePoint with no customizations, then it isn’t an acceptable Records Management System. But, SharePoint is a platform, and all of these missing features are easily added by third-parties or by the IT department of the organization.

Microsoft even got their own records manager, Christina Torres, to write a whitepaper on how Microsoft uses SharePoint and Exchange to manage their records. The opening paragraph talks about how to “implement a records management system”, not install one. In reality, even an out-of-the-box RMS is going to require customization – so Microsoft’s offering is not so different and it offers two big advantages:

  1. It’s quite a bit cheaper
  2. The front-end is fully integrated with Office – making adoption much more likely

Or as Forrester put it:

As for SharePoint's current popularity among records managers, despite the gaps? Hill said a familiar interface is a powerful thing. "I attribute it to Microsoft's extremely bright strategy of tying together SharePoint with its office portfolio and giving knowledge workers a user interface they are very familiar with," Hill said.