As subscribers to our research know only too well, standards in the world of document and records management are a bit thin on the ground, and those that do exist are often cumbersome and unwieldy. As a result, few buyers of document and record management systems (ECM) pay much attention to them.
This is particularly the case in the world of Records Management, where the US Military DOD5015 standard has long held sway -- at least in theory. Vendors claim DOD5015 compliance, but in reality few organizations actually use the systems in a DOD5015-compliant manner. It's an over-arching standard that demands a particularly complex and cumbersome working methodology, one that might be applicable in an agency like the CIA or MI5, but makes little sense anywhere else.
In practical terms,
- Vendors pay handsomely to certify themselves against DOD5015
- Buyers insist that any RM products they buy are thus certified, then
- Nobody actually uses the product in a standards-compliant manner
Bottom line, it's a complete waste of time.
Yet here's the twist in this sad tale: RM implementations should be standards compliant. Of all content management disciplines, RM is the most in need of a standardized method of working -- If for little other reason that records last a long time, go through multiple pairs of hands over their lifecycle, and can get consolidated with multiple disparate data sets.
Well there may be hope on the (distant) horizon, since after two failed attempts, the European Union-backed Moreq 2010 standard is emerging as a potential DOD5015 slayer. Slayer because it does what it's supposed to do and no more. It's a standard that tells you what you must do, but not how to do it, or for that matter where to do it. In fact with this new standard, you may potentially even have your own internal RM program certified, rather than the standard simply being restricted to a particular vendor's software solution. This is a huge change in direction, and one that I certainly welcome.
Some basic factoids about the new standard:
- It has been quite radically simplified from the previous version
- The concept of a primary classification has been dropped in favor of a more flexible approach
- It accepts of a modular, SOA (Service Oriented Architecture) structure for an RM system
Each of these bullets deserve serious discussion and analysis that cannot be provided in a blog post, but I can summarize that the new specification both simplifies and allows far more flexibility in your implementations and vendor selections. With this new approach to RM there is no need for a monolithic RM system.
To be clear, it is you the user of RM systems that either comply, or not, with any particular regulation, not the system itself. Likewise just to be super clear, Moreq2010 has yet to be tested in the field, and suppliers and end users have yet to actually adopt it, since it's brand spanking new.
Similarly it's important to note that Moreq2010 will not in and of itself be a panacea for RM. RM is going through a very difficult period of change, much of it depicted by extreme denial. The onslaught of digital records, cloud computing, the importance of email, the proliferations and chaos of shared drives, the emergence of social media, and a general lack of core IT skills have had a dramatic and largely negative impact on the world of RM.
Moreq2010 at least is an attempt to move the discussion forward, and could significantly shift the ground rules. Whether it is actually adopted enthusiastically or not, Moreq2010 will help to fire a much needed debate.