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Laying the groundwork for federated records management

To make its discovery process and other RM functions more efficient, Lorillard sought an electronic records management system, and selected CA Records Manager (formerly known as MDY’s FileSurf) from CA. The solution is now used to manage Lorillard’s e-mail. "We found that CA Records Manager is one of the few products that works well with Lotus Notes," Reilly says, "which is a necessary feature for us. It is also simpler to implement and use than competitive products.

Lorillard has been evaluating electronic record management technologies for several years, waiting for the technology to mature. "Getting into a technology too soon can be a problem," Reilly says, "but we are happy with the timing of our implementation."

CA Records Manager is being used at Lorillard to centralize the management of e-mails on multiple servers. Business e-mails that are declared into the system cannot be deleted or altered, and are maintained in a central repository that can be easily accessed and searched by users.

"Only our administrators can change the status of a record," Reilly adds, "but departmental users with the appropriate permissions can access a record easily, even after it has been deleted from the user’s inbox."

Lorillard is looking into using CA Records Manager to manage its paper records, which are now handled in a separate database. "We also have a growing number of complex databases and systems," Reilly says, "and we have been applying RM policies and rules to those databases and systems in a systematic fashion. Expanding our use of CA Records Manager would further that goal."

The underlying premise of CA Records Manager is to provide an infrastructure-agnostic approach to governing all unstructured content across the enterprise, according to Reed Irvin, VP for product management at CA. "Some interesting things are happening in the workplace, as far as validating this approach," he says. Customers do not want to add a new repository dedicated to records management; they want a better way to manage the ones they already have.

"A lot of content exists outside managed environments," he continues, "some of which might appropriately be classified as records." In addition, if it becomes more readily accessible, that content could also have business value. "This federated approach to records management—centralizing policy and management for all categories of information—can both dramatically improve efficiency and reveal untapped business opportunities," Irvin says.

Enabling federation

Records management solutions enable federation in a variety of ways. In each case, though, data needs to be accessed and presented, and metadata needs to be extracted and normalized.

PathBuilder, a content integration and migration solution from Vital Path, evolved from custom software developed for electronic records management by pharmaceutical companies. It performs data migration, synchronization and virtualization. Because of its virtualization feature, PathBuilder can be used to support federated records management. Vital Path has now partnered with leading ECM companies such as EMC, Oracle and Open Text  to provide certified APIs that link content from those repositories to records management systems.

"Generally, content management systems have been developed and deployed based on line-of-business needs throughout an enterprise," says Jay Rothe, VP of business development at Vital Path. "They were not geared for enterprise functions such as records management."

PathBuilder connects records management solutions to the underlying content management systems. Because it is fully integrated via APIs, PathBuilder can invoke the functionality of the content management systems. For example, when a federated search is done, PathBuilder passes along the request to each content management system, which then carries out the search.

Rules can also be invoked to enact workflow or trigger an event. If a hold is placed on a record, PathBuilder can change the permissions within an ECM so the document cannot be modified or deleted. Because the interactivity is bi-directional, a record that is changed in the ECM is immediately seen by PathBuilder.

"Some of our customers are using PathBuilder for discovery on 40 different repositories," Rothe says. "Compared with having to search each one, the efficiencies of this approach are substantial."
The nature of information management has changed in the past few years, according to Chin. "You really need to build a cross-functional team," he says. "Legal, financial, IT and users all need to come together."
And for the information itself, it’s not enough for IT to build the infrastructure, Chin adds, "CIOs need to look at the actual content and help decide what to do with it, in cooperation with
the team."

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