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Case Study – How Defra Use SharePoint and Records Management

Posted by workerthread on July 4, 2008

Microsoft have just posted a new case study on how the UK Department for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs (defra) are using SharePoint Server 2007, and in particular Records Management.  You can read or download it from here.

A couple of quick highlights:

Chris Edwards, e-Records Management Team at Defra, says: “The records management capabilities in the new system out of the box are highly flexible. We quickly realised that with some customisations, they could meet our record management needs, and deliver us a fit-for-purpose collaboration infrastructure.”

Through Defra’s customisations of Office SharePoint Server 2007, developers added several new features:

  • The system automatically populates metadata fields with information about the user who is creating a document, which in future is going to become a record.
  • Documents are given a high, medium, or low importance by the author—documents with a medium or high importance are automatically harvested into the records repository after six months.
  • Office SharePoint Server 2007 captures documents as records, as well as a whole site if it is less than 10 megabytes—what is considered a record has to be defined by each customer.
  • Users can create, view, and add information in a workspace shared by all relevant team members through a browser interface.
  • The technology creates virtual team working environments where they can produce, capture, and work on shared documents.

The Records Management capabilities in SharePoint 2007 are very powerful, but need very careful planning.  Defining document content types and appropriate metadata are key to most SharePoint implementations, but even more vital if you plan to use Records Management at some point.  The general recommendation is to plan for a Records Management implementation as a separate web application, with its own content database.  If you want a more details walk-through of what’s involved, there is a good one in a book I’ve previously recommended – Essential SharePoint 2007 – Delivering High Impact Collaboration.

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