The challenges with getting FileNet P8 content under control from a retention standpoint are multi-fold:
If you're taking what comes out of the box, you probably need to write a decent amount of Java code that can take advantage of said functionality. Sure, you can select an individual document instance, click on the Retention tab, and supply it with a date. But is that a realistic option for you and your team to do by hand (or train your users how to do it) on your x-million document object stores? Probably not. And what about approvals and reporting? That just doesn't exist, even with the basic functionality. Clearly, IBM left some space for P8 superusers or business partners (TL;DR - enChoice's Content Lifecycle Management offering fixes this) to develop some of their own processes around the retention underpinnings they've built in to the product. But development takes time, money, and a dedicated team. Not all of us have this luxury.
Records management is a process - and it's not for the faint-hearted. You can’t have a one-size-fits-all approach to retaining electronic records (what records managers call "big buckets"). That may be fine for, say email retention - where you can have something like a blanket 18-month policy before the email is zapped from the corporate servers (and in that time, you either take some action on the email in question, like declare it a record or file it somewhere, or you lose it forever). In the world of actionable enterprise content though, that doesn't cut it.
Different documents are governed by different classification and retention schemas. These decisions may be driven by regulatory or audit requirements, or just good old internal business rules. Suffice it to say, when all's said and done, you're going to have a multitude of differing retention requirements that apply to different document classes (and potentially different folders if you're using those).
There are also cases where financial industry-regulated (aka FINRA) content needs to be kept on a specific immutable storage subsystem (think WORM). All this amounts to what the records biz calls an enterprise retention schedule (aka "file plan") - a corporate taxonomy, of sorts, for the organization's records. And this is not an IT person's job - at least not solely. Retention schedules need to be carefully vetted by records management experts, in concert with the business, and with representation from legal. You don't want to set record retention dates willy-nilly, because it can potentially land you personally (and the company) into legal hot water. No, thank you.
So what can be done?
Well, much of what determines your best direction is how much time, resources and money you have to spend, and how robust your retention practices need to be.
Unsurprisingly, perhaps the most obvious and first-line candidate for lifecycle governance on FileNet P8 is IBM’s own Enterprise Records (IER). IER is a FileNet platform add-on that gives you a full suite of records management, reporting and enhanced audit functionality. When it comes to destroying documents and metadata, auditors (and judges, for that matter) want to see disposition processes that are repetitive and consistent. You can configure sweeps on schedules, to go out and look for expired content. And you can route work items to specific resources or entire teams for approval. IER installs as its own managed database (object store in FileNet parlance), features full file plan capabilities for physical or electronic records, and even supports multiple data models (e.g., DoD 5015.2) and vital records.
If you’re not quite ready yet for the relatively heavy lift of something like IER, enChoice’s Content Lifecycle Management (CLM) for IBM FileNet P8 provides automated protection and destruction of regulated and non-regulated content in the FileNet P8 repository at the lowest possible resource requirement and cost, thus touting “Predictable Cost of Ownership”. CLM complements the basic retention functionality of FileNet P8. Its embedded dashboard and reporting capabilities provide a configurable overview of all documents to be deleted and their retention settings. Retention periods can be assigned based on events, e.g., for contracts or invoices. Documents and even folders are deleted in a controlled and secure manner, in adherence to compliance guidelines, either manually or in automated batches. All deletions and modifications are logged for auditing purposes.
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About the Author
Eugene Stakhov, CRM, CIP
Information Architect, enChoice
Gene is a senior Information Architect at enChoice, Inc., with a technical background in software development. During his consulting-focused career, Gene has provided clients with expert guidance on matters ranging from enterprise taxonomy development to technical system implementation solutions in the Banking/Finance, Insurance, Healthcare and Utilities sectors. His work includes implementing a highly visible, complex email and electronic records management initiative to address the regulatory compliance challenges of a large utilities company. This solution won the IBM Innovation in Technology Award. Gene has been an ARMA member since 2005 and a perennial leader of the Metropolitan New York City-Long Island Chapter, ultimately shepherding it through the end of the tumultuous 2020 season at the helm as President. Along the way, he’s been recognized for his contributions on numerous occasions, including being honored with the Chapter Leader of the Year (2019-2020), Honored Member of the Year (2020-2021), and ARMA International’s Member of the Year (2019-2020) awards. He currently serves as an advisor on ARMA International's Chapter Advisory Committee.
Founded in 1993, enChoice®, Inc. is an award-winning Enterprise Content Management (ECM) and Digital Transformation solutions company, with nearly 30 years of experience helping customers improve business processes and protect critical information with software and solutions that accelerate their path to digital efficiency.
Visit www.enchoice.com and discover why over 1,000 leading companies, including many in the state government sector, have chosen enChoice as their trusted experts in enterprise content management and digital transformation.