It has been interesting to watch the swirl of speculation of why Microsoft has finally jumped in the RM swimming pool on the Records Management Listserv (RECMGMT-L@LISTS.UFL.EDU). The archives of the Listserv are located at: http://www.lists.ufl.edu/archives/recmgmt-l.html
This started after the fact that Microsoft started a Records Management Team Blog was posted to the ListServ today.
I may be able to offer another perspective.
Back in 2000 when I was the President of TrueArc, we saw the need for records management for the then SharePoint V1 and integrated ForeMost with SharePoint. We became the first vendor to get the combination DoD 5015.2 certified.
Starting back then and for many years I have lobbied long and loudly directly to the product folks at Microsoft to take a more active role in addressing RM with their products that create and manage content like SharePoint and Content Management Server.
What you have to understand is that Microsoft’s philosophy has been to be a platform provider which relied on partners to round out their solutions with the additional needed functionality. RM and workflow are two good examples of this over the last 6 years since we at TrueArc integrated ForeMost with SharePoint.
I think what has been happening over the last six years has been the normal evolution of Microsoft’s platform (STS -> SPS V1 -> SPS V2 -> SPS V3 coming) and the growing adoption of these technologies by the marketplace. As the SharePoint platform has gained significant popularity and adoption by many customers, they went back to Microsoft and said “Hey, we need some organic records management capability”.
I think they are also responding the competitive pressures of the market. Case in point is Oracle adding RM to Collaboration Suite 10g and the fact that their other main competitor, IBM, provides RM organically.
Finally, I think the entire ECM market is maturing and is recognizing the importance of RM as a core capability needed to manage the authenticity and life cycle of content. We have been shouting about this for years and it took Enron, MCI, and the response offered by the Sarbanes Oxley Act combined to get the rest of the business and IT world to sit up and listen. I think this is true with Microsoft. Their clients telling them that they needed help with compliance was another tipping point.
I think the great thing about the Microsoft RM Blog is that the RM team at Microsoft is not presenting marketing swill or pitching to all of us. They are starting a conversation and it behooves everyone with a comment, suggestion, question, or opinion to comment on their Blog. I know many of the Microsoft folks personally and they want your feedback and they will listen.
I hope that sheds a little different light on this.
I want to encourage folks who come here to post your comments, suggestions, questions, or opinions. I plan to discuss topics like this, review some of the new ECM technologies coming to market including the Open Source offerings, and engage in conversations with whoever wants to talk about the market.
I look forward to chatting…