By all accounts so far, SharePoint 2013 does not have a lot of new records management functionality, but the new functionality it now has is an important step forward. It includes:
- Records management in the cloud, but a parallel universe to existing on-premises deployments of things like the Records Centre, Content Type Hub, and Managed Metadata.
- The ability to apply retention policies to entire sites.
- Better integration with Outlook, including site mailboxes. All other email will still need to be managed.
- Better support for eDiscovery.
Records management features in Office 365
It will now be possible to do most on-premises records management activities online in Office 365 (i.e., in SharePoint 2013 online). This includes the ability to create and use Records Centres, Content Type Hubs, Managed Metadata, and in-place records management. (See Don Lueders’ interview with Adam Harmetz from Microsoft here for more information.)
However, as Mike Alsup from AIIM points out here, on-premises and cloud-based environments will remain completely separate. It will not be possible to send records from Office 365 to the on-premises Records Center, and vice versa.
Retention policies for entire sites
This is a welcome feature as the only realistic alternative in SharePoint 2012 was to make a site read only and then ‘archive’ it.
Better integration with Outlook
This is a very interesting move by Microsoft who have made it very clear that they believe content should be kept where it belongs – email in Exchange and documents in SharePoint.
In SharePoint 2013, teams can have a site mailbox that is visible from Outlook as well as the site. Documents attached to emails can be saved easily to a SharePoint document library. With retention applied to an entire site, this means that the emails in the site mailbox will be kept – in its business context – along with the rest of the relevant content.
This leaves ‘Messaging Records Management’, a feature that has not changed in Exchange 2013, to cater for all other emails.
SharePoint 2013 includes new eDiscovery sites. Some might say this is not a records management feature but a feature for lawyers. In any cases, both are likely to find this new feature compelling.