Microsoft Records Management – is this for you?

Atle Skjekkeland


Microsoft announced last week that records management with Microsoft 365 is now available with the following functionality:

  • Label content as a record. Create and publish retention labels that declare content as a record that can then be applied by end users or auto.-applied by identifying sensitive information, keywords, or content types.

  • Migrate and manage your retention plan with file plan and use file plan manager to bring in your existing retention plan, or build new with file descriptors and expanding hierarchies.

  • Establish retention and deletion policies within the record label. Define retention and disposition periods based on various factors including the date last modified or created.

  • Trigger event-based retention with event-based retention.

  • Review and validate disposition with disposition reviews and proof of records deletion.

  • Export information about all disposed items with the export option.

  • Set specific permissions for records manager functions in your organization to have the right access.

Check out this blog post to learn more about Microsoft Records Management. Most of the functionality was previously part of Microsoft Advanced Data Governance, and this video explains it in more detail.

How good is it?

Infotechtion is one of the few consulting companies that have already evaluated and deployed Microsoft Records Management at several large global and highly-regulated companies with 100,000+ users.

  • One of our global clients operating in a highly regulated industry tested last year several of the leading ECM/Content Services Platform systems to identify the best approach for managing documents and records created in M365. Microsoft Records Management was the clear winner since it was most integrated and intuitive for users. This allows for “archiving by design”. Users just describe what they working on (e.g. tag a file as NDA), and Microsoft Records Management sets then automatically the right retention and disposition.

  • Another global client of us have already come to this conclusion. M365 is the new corporate content and records management system. They have now replaced both OpenText and HP Trim with M365 SharePoint Online – which has improved access and significantly reduced their operating costs. As an example, the annual cost of a leading content management system for 2,000 staff often costs more than Microsoft Records Management for 20,000 staff.

Why consider it?

For most organizations, work happens now in Microsoft Office 365 (M365). Staff use M365 to create, receive, and collaborate on files. Microsoft Records Management is not only about managing records in SharePoint, but also records in Teams, Outlook, OneDrive, and Microsoft 365 Groups or any 3rd party IT systems for HR, Finance, Operations, etc. Microsoft Records Management helps you:

  • Ensure business decisions are retained and available for those that need it, e.g. plans, reports, agreements, standard operating procedures

  • Ensure regularity compliance, e.g. GDPR requirements for data minimization and storage limitation

  • Improve business continuity since you can only recover deleted or modified files for 90 days with the Microsoft E3 license, and 365 days with the Microsoft E5 license

If you already have one more ECM systems, you have then three options for managing important documents and records created or received in M365:

  1. Buy an M365 connector for your existing legacy ECM system, e.g. OpenText, Alfresco, IBM

  2. Replace your existing ECM system with a new ECM add-on, e.g. AvePoint, RecordPoint, Gimmal

  3. Replace your legacy ECM system with Microsoft Records Management

I believe that the first two options should only be considered if you can´t meet your records management requirements with option 3. This will often offer the most integrated approach, best user experience, and allow for automating records management.

How to learn more about it?

Below are a collection of useful Microsoft Records Management references and considerations:

How to evaluate it?

At Infotechtion, we offer you two ways to get started without spending a lot of time and energy:

Option 1: Compliance Assessment – Our Compliance Assessment provides you with insights to help you better discover, protect and govern your corporate data. This virtual engagement is spread out over several weeks to allow Compliance Check time to run on top of your M365 tenant and surface compliance risks within your organization. The Compliance Assessment gives you the insights you need to better discover, protect and govern your M365 records. Deliverables include:

  • Compliance Check report that includes findings and insights from the automated discovery process

  • List of actionable recommendations and suggestions for improved mitigation and governance

  • Detailed assessment of your IT and compliance priorities and initiatives

  • Clear look into Microsoft’s approach to compliance and how it relates to your organization

  • Hands-on opportunity to experience what integrated compliance looks like, including the latest tools and methods

  • Set of long-term recommendations on your compliance strategy, with key initiatives and tactical next steps

Option 2: Proof-of-Concept – If you have specific requirements for M365 information protection and governance, or just want to find a way to better manage information, we can then do a proof-of-concept for you. This can be done in your tenant or in our test environment. An Office 365 Compliance proof-of-concept can very simple (like records management for Teams and SharePoint Online) or complex (investigating if M365 SharePoint Online can replace your legacy content management system). A proof-of-concept often entail the following:

  • Kick-off call to determine scope and stakeholders

  • Document use case and requirements based on scope

  • Configure M365 to meet your use case and requirements

  • Demo for stakeholders

  • Document findings and recommend next steps

Please feel free to contact us if you want to discuss this in more detail. We have offices and staff in the US, UK, and Europe, and we can very quickly deliver the two options for you based on our experience from several global clients.

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