I am often asked why it is we are pursuing the DoD 5015.2 certification when it doesn’t fit with the modern reality of records and information management. The answer is quite simple. It does fit, but it has always been implemented poorly.
SharePoint has come a long way since its inception and now outshines its other enterprise content management (ECM) system counterparts by a wide margin. However, it has always lacked a certain degree of credibility when it comes to records management. We at Collabware have worked hard to beef up SharePoint and fill its records management gaps so that it can meet all enterprise records management requirements, but the DoD certification for records management has always been looming overhead.
Most of the well-known legacy ECM solutions have achieved DoD certification, so why not SharePoint? This question often leaves would-be SharePoint believers relegating SharePoint to intranets and collaboration team sites, and moves the heavy lifting of records management to burdensome legacy platforms. While this might seem like a good approach, it most often leads to an extremely poor solution that at best is an extraordinarily expensive, almost inaccessible, archive of zombie documents that are copies of living documents in SharePoint. Wonderful.
There have also been some attempts to retrofit SharePoint with poorly thought out DoD certified add-ons. These disastrous attempts have led to people believing that having SharePoint meet the DoD standard results in a software user experience that most people wouldn’t want to inflict on their worst enemy.
So, is this situation the fault of the DoD certification requirements, or the result of 1990’s software design being brought forward to SharePoint circa 201X? Here’s a hint, it’s *not* the fault of the DoD certification requirements.
Making enterprise software simple, seamless, and transparent for users is as much an art as a science, and when it’s done well, fulfilling the most complicated requirements will result in an experience that is intuitive and easy to use for any individual. It doesn’t matter that the DoD certification requirements were envisioned during the age of paper records management (a common argument used to cite the failure of DoD certified software solutions). The DoD certification tells you what requirements need to be met, not how you need to meet them. Applying creativity and acknowledging the realities of the modern information workplace will lead to a compliant, yet fully usable software experience that may even (dare I say it) improve productivity. Sadly, this point has been lost on many software companies in the records management industry and they end up blaming the certification rather than taking a close look at their own software development practices.
Our team at Collabware has been working hard these last couple of years to re-envision the fundamentals of records management software and how it should operate in the era of modern information management. We call this Intelligent ECM (#intelligentecm). The goal of Intelligent ECM is to produce software that not only helps organizations meet their legislative and regulatory records management requirements, but also increases the overall performance of the organization itself. To achieve this goal we rely on a high degree of intelligent automation, which is also key to implementing the DoD certification requirements in a highly usable manner.
We don’t believe that the DoD certification requirements are any more, or any less archaic than any other requirements we have encountered. However, we do acknowledge a certain level of creativity and innovation is required to meet those requirements while still adhering to our simple, seamless, and transparent design principles. Our product, Collabware CLM, is now in the final stages of DoD certification and we look forward to unveiling a DoD certified version of our software this year. Keep an eye on this blog over the next few months as we provide feature previews of some of our DoD certification innovation.