Federated Information Management | John Gunning RecordPoint

What is Federated Information Management?

What is a Federated Information Management System and how does it work? How does rules-based record keeping work and how does it make life easier for end-users? How can you allow users to do their work on any platform? John Gunning, Head of Product for RecordPoint, answers these questions about federated information management and more. Watch the video or read the transcript below.



Erica Toelle: Hi. I'm Erica Toelle, Product Evangelist for RecordPoint.
John Gunning: Hi and I'm John Gunning. I'm Head of Product at RecordPoint.
Erica Toelle: Thank you so much for taking the time to go on camera.
John Gunning: No problem.
Erica Toelle: As Head of Product, I’m sure you think about one thing all day: the future of records management.

Records Management: Where We Have Been

John Gunning: Yeah, that's right. We've come a long way, you know? Records management at the very beginning involved paper. Then it moved onto software-aided records management.
But right at the beginning of the software era, it was a chair swivel. You'd have a bunch of things sitting on file shares. You'd have your sort of record system over there, and we joke around. It's supposed to be a chair swivel.
Because you're picking up the essential records of the organization over here and dragging it into here, doing a bit of manual profiling. It was probably okay at the time. There weren't huge volumes of data like we have today.
Erica Toelle: In the past I know one of the challenges in the record management industry has been that your content is in silos.
John Gunning: Yeah.
Erica Toelle: You need to put your records in a specific system of record.
John Gunning: Yeah, that's right.
Erica Toelle: Moreover, it may or may not be the same place where your end-users are working with their documents and doing their daily work.
John Gunning: That's right. Basically, it was the records administrator who was kind of in charge of that, but users, if they had to use those systems just hated them, right?
They had to profile things, and we've moved along from there. Really what's happening today is along with the wave of productivity that's occurred around the cloud and Office365, SharePoint on Premises, and other content sources. We don't want to get in the way of the users.
Erica Toelle: Sure.
John Gunning: However, to keep things balanced, we still need to ensure compliance. So, we've got a challenge there, right? We're trying to provide the records administrators the one view and one set of policy automation for compliance and records management, and we're also basically trying to stay out of the way of the users.
Erica Toelle: Sure.

Automated Rules for Records Management

John Gunning: So, where we’ve gotten to at RecordPoint, from a product perspective, is automated rules.
Erica Toelle: Sure. How does that work?
John Gunning: It’s easy. The users are unimpeded in using their OneDrive. Using tools like, Box. They don’t have to worry about their emails.
Erica Toelle: Wherever they're doing their work.
John Gunning: Whatever they're doing in their daily work. They're focused on their task, which is getting their goals done.
What we're doing behind the scenes is getting notification every time they're working with something. We then filter that information through our rules system.
The records administrators and compliance managers have set up and categorization to happen, right?
Erica Toelle: Is it accurate?
John Gunning: It works great. It works great. We use a lot of analytics in that process. To make it simple.
Think of a decision tree. The content comes through the top and then we are doing a bunch of analytical and metadata matching to decide what type of data it is. Where should it belong? We then tag it.
Erica Toelle: Where should it belong in the file plan?
John Gunning: That's right.
Erica Toelle: Not physically where it should belong, right?
John Gunning: Correct. Where should it belong in the file plan? Then basically making it fall into that bucket or category.
Erica Toelle: Great. Great. So, the current state today in records management is to have all the content in silos. What's your idea for the future? Where is this going? How can we make it easier?
John Gunning: Yeah, look. I think the days of command and control IT with sort of mandated systems coming top down, they're kind of long gone.
The users are running free. They're focused at a departmental level using their methods. So, what we need to do as a compliance and records management function is work with that.
You can't swim against that tide. I don't see any let up in really new specific systems. There are a lot of people using Office365, Box, and other systems.
Erica Toelle: Yeah.
John Gunning: Additionally, we see more and more content repositories come online. Different kinds of content.
And we still have traditional electronic records and physical records to take care of as well.
Erica Toelle: Sure.
John Gunning: RecordPoint is federating all that information via a centralized file plan and rules and analytical engine to arrive at the right outcomes for that content.

What is Federated Information Management?

Erica Toelle: Sure. For the people who are maybe just getting started with this topic, could you explain what federated means?
John Gunning: Yeah, sure. So federated is when we're joining together a whole bunch of different things into one thing.
An analogy is when people have federated access to a bunch of applications. You have a single name and password to access all of them. In that case, you have a single-entry point, which is your identity.
What we are doing at RecordPoint is providing a single point for records management across all content sources.
Moreover, what we're doing is federated policy
Erica Toelle: So, you create one policy, but you can use those policies in SharePoint, in your email, physical records, etc.
John Gunning: That's right. So, you have one set of policies and the one view for those who are responsible for compliance or for the legal team. For those tasked with the governance of the organization and risk management as well.
Moreover, once you tye everything together via one policy set you can start to do exciting things. It makes the burden of taking new systems on board much less.
Erica Toelle: So, you don't have to buy a separate records management system for each new system.
John Gunning: Yeah, that's right. Moreover, you don't even need to vastly change your ruleset when you add a new system.
Erica Toelle: Great.
Erica Toelle: What are some of the other benefits of using this approach?
John Gunning: Look, there's a real load of benefits surrounding the approach.
In records management we want to apply policy, but the other half of records management is we also want to be able to defend and describe those policy decisions that we've taken.
Erica Toelle: Sure.

The Importance of Reporting in Records Management

John Gunning: A considerable part of that is reporting, right? So, you know, via great tools that we have now like Power BI we're able to primarily provide a single of consolidated reporting across that entire policy map.
We're providing not only an out-of-the-box set of data analytics, but also the capability to extend the analytics.
For example, physical records management. Let’s say you have a whole lot of stuff due for disposal and destruction in 2024. If you are negotiating a lease agreement you can be aware of that, and it helps with my capacity planning and things like that.
Erica Toelle: Sure. Oh, wow. That's great.
John Gunning: Yeah.
Erica Toelle: So, from a product development stand-point or your perspective, are there any final things about which people should think?

How to Get Started with Cloud Records Management

John Gunning: Yeah. It would help if you thought about your journey to the Cloud. The cloud has been around for a couple of years, but there are still systems out there that are stuck somewhere other than a data center, right?
It might be for sort of regulatory requirements, or it might just be that you have legacy ECM or legacy file shares and it's all just too hard.
The big piece of advice that I would recommend in terms of getting going with compliance, records management, and governance is just starting small. It's a bit of an adage, but you don't need to boil the ocean, you know?
You can deploy your solution very quickly. Start with some easy content sources. Get going with that. Get used to how rules work. Get used to kind of how the workflows work and what type of reporting and what kind of notifications you need.
Then it's quite easy to build-up that picture and build the business as you're going through the process.
Erica Toelle: Well, thank you so much for this great perspective and advice.
John Gunning: Cool. Thanks very much.

Expert Interview Series

This video is a part of RecordPoint’s Expert Interview Series. In this series, we speak with top Microsoft industry experts on topics related to compliance, governance, collaboration, and information management.

View additional videos from the Expert Interview Series

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