In-Place vs. Out-of-Place: The Records Management Debate

Post Date: 02/17/2021
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SharePoint has been a great collaboration platform for many organizations. You can easily create dynamic websites with modern, fresh templates. It’s also a great space to post and announce news to keep your team in-the-know and updated. However, beyond these great collaboration features, did you know that SharePoint can also be a great platform to manage your records? In this blog post, let’s see how you can enforce the retention of your SharePoint content.

In the early years of SharePoint (out-of-place management for example) a records center was the only way to manage your records. Using this method, you would need to create a specific site to place all your records. You could forward your records to this site and enforce the retention when it reached this out-of-place location. Records placed in the record center site were tagged with metadata or key information about the item, which was beneficial in managing the information and being able to easily recover it when needed.

records management

However, Microsoft has dramatically changed their approach to records management and there is now a different method called in-place management. Unlike in out-of-place systems where you have a specific space to archive your records, in this type of record management you can place and manage your records across multiple sites. All records regardless of where they live can be managed with in-place management. You can also store and manage your records along with active documents, essentially removing the traditional definitions of “documents” vs “records.”

To do this, Microsoft introduced retention labels to manage the retention, disposal, or record declaration of content. This new function replaces building a Records Center or the out-of-place method. However, you can still create and use records centers alongside retention labels. Retention labels can be implemented in all your content across your Microsoft 365 environment. You can read more about retention labels in this article.

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Certainly, the new retention labels for in-place management represent a big shift in traditional records management and might even be considered easier to use compared to having a separate records center. However, beyond the great things it can do, there are limitations that you might want to consider.

AvePoint’s Cloud Records is a great third-party solution for records management that goes beyond the capability of native retention in Microsoft 365. Let’s see some of the differences of what these records management systems can do so you can see what the best fit for your business needs could be.

In the table above we can see some of the limitations of the native records management and retention labels in Office and how third-party record management solutions like AvePoint Cloud Records could bridge those gaps.

Managing the records of your organization can be made much easier through the solutions we’ve mentioned here. You can either create a record center, enforce In-place records management through retention labels, use both methods, or adapt third-party solutions. However, the best way to decide which one is best for your situation is by analyzing what the requirements of your organization are and what aligns with the needs of your business, your users, and your company’s compliance requirements.

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Alyssa Blackburn is the Director of Records & Information Strategy at AvePoint, where she helps organisations achieve business value from their information. In her role, Alyssa provides records and information consulting services as well as system implementations, allowing customers to optimise the structure of their information to maximize business benefits while meeting data governance and compliance objectives. With 20 years of experience in the information management industry, Alyssa has worked with both public and private sector organisations to deliver guidance for information management success in the digital age. She is responsible for the development of AvePoint’s information management solution, and has been involved with implementing our records management solution with government agencies and commercial clients. Alyssa is actively involved in the information management industry and has spoken at a number of events including at Inforum 2016 in Perth. She has been published in the RIMPA IQ magazine and recently won the 2016 award article of the year for the RIMPA IQ magazine for her article titled, "Why you need to think differently about information management."

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Adrian is currently a member of AvePoint's project management team. In his previous role as a Content Marketing specialist at AvePoint, Adrian covered the latest trends and topics on what’s new in technology, SaaS Management & Governance, SaaS Backup and Data Management.

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