Monthly Archives: February 2012

A New Paradigm for Critical Document Management & Records Management

– by Dany Charland

Document and records management (DM/RM) has traditionally followed a strict file plan, with profile forms used to create and maintain records. These are important best practices; and, for regulated industries such as accounting firms, healthcare, IT, food safety etc., they are necessary to provide evidence of document controls.

However, a common complaint about document management is that its file structure is too rigid and its forms too cumbersome to effectively support users. These systems rely on the carefulness and attention of users to retain, dispose and secure records. The combination of inconvenience and user dependency make many traditional DM/RM systems error prone on the best of days.

“It’s too hard to find what I need” is a common user complaint about traditional rigid records management systems. Part of the challenge is that no single file storage structure can account for the myriad organizational structures represented by human brains. From a business perspective, frustrated users are a risk because they are prone to take shortcuts, make errors or simply avoid using critical systems.

Microsoft SharePoint gives businesses the opportunity to manage records and documents with appropriate protocols in place while also delivering a more flexible user experience. They key to unlocking these capabilities is to establish a properly structured, standards-based and controlled vocabulary for meta-data management. This enables document management and records management developers to build virtual entity structures – also called virtual file plans – that provide users with multi-faceted browsing experiences.

In short, SharePoint offers a user-driven records search and browsing experience while maintaining the necessary file structures by making the storage structure invisible to the user.

At Tango Technology Group, we use SharePoint and Silverlight, combined with DM/RM best practices and principles, to deliver records management solutions that meet both business and usability needs.

For more information:
• Visit our SharePoint Practice web page
• Learn more about SharePoint from Microsoft
Contact me, Dany Charland – I’m Tango Technology Group’s SharePoint business expert
• Attend my SharePoint DM/RM presentation at SharePoint Summit 2012 in Quebec City

SharePoint Collaboration vs. Governance: Not Necessarily Mortal Enemies

– by Dany Charland

Virtual/online collaboration is an absolute necessity for many small- and mid-sized organizations today. It may be required to support ad hoc project teams; to facilitate geographically dispersed teams to work together; or, to increase the efficiency of internal communication in any organization.

Virtual collaboration environments – such as SharePoint intranets or SharePoint collaboration environments – can certainly add significant value to a business. But they can also become liabilities. Common causes of collaboration environment break-down include:

  • Rapid growth of the organization and/or the collaboration environment – unfettered growth can make collaboration environments unruly and difficult to use
  • Increasing proliferation of information shared in the environment – rapid increases in information can make the environment overwhelming and discourage use
  • Duplication of information in the environment – this can lead to version control problems (also regulatory/compliance breaches) as users unwittingly interact with multiple versions of the same document
  • Loss of relevance or timeliness of the information shared – this discourages use and can lower morale as the environment seems neglected

This is where a Collaboration Governance Strategy is invaluable. It is the tool that brings structure to the free-spirited collaboration environment, by governing growth, content management, information management and versioning/aging. When combined with a Change Management process, the governance strategy comes to drive ongoing decisions about the management and use of the system.

Rather than discouraging users with complex rules and controls, an effective collaboration Governance and Change strategy increases user satisfaction by creating alignment between the business/business goals and the various content producers; content managers; collaboration collections and properties (sites and sub-sites).

Tango Technology Group’s information management experts are seasoned in delivering governance strategies and related processes for intranets, SharePoint intranets, and SharePoint collaboration environments. We are experienced in the development and implementation of strong governance structures that encourage creative, free-spirited collaboration.

If you have an existing or planned collaboration or intranet project in the works, I hope you’ll contact me to ensure that your investment in the new environment will be a success: dcharland(at)tangotechnologygroup.com

For more information: