In this week’s Top SharePoint 2013 Features, we are taking a closer look at Enterprise Content Management. While SharePoint 2010 provided basic Enterprise Collaboration Management capabilities, Microsoft has made significant updates in SharePoint 2013. This is an exciting development, as we are seeing more companies consider SharePoint for ECM. In this post, we’ll focus exclusively on ECM, saving Web Content Management (WCM) features for another blog post.
EDISCOVERY and HOLD
eDiscovery and holds are important components in an ECM system, and this is one of the areas where Microsoft made the most changes in SharePoint 2013, starting with a new eDiscovery Center site template used to create a portal for managing discovery cases. SharePoint 2013 also adds in-place holds for both SharePoint sites and Exchange mailboxes. These holds can be placed down to the page and list item level – users can still work with the content while it is on hold because SharePoint captures a read-only copy for compliance officers to access. This is a major improvement that prevents user disruption during legal processes.
If you have a SharePoint environment with multiple farms, you can benefit from the expanded eDiscovery capability that allows queries across multiple SharePoint farms. Again, this covers SharePoint sites as well as Exchange and file shares. And when the legal department needs to gather all discovered content, there is a new export feature available that covers both SharePoint 2013 and Exchange 2013 content. You may have noticed the pattern – Microsoft has made an effort to have eDiscovery functionality cover other storage locations (like Exchange), and not just SharePoint.
Check out this Microsoft article for more details on the eDiscovery features of SharePoint 2013.
SharePoint 2013 takes the important compliance features available in SharePoint 2010 and makes them available at the site level. This means you have much more granular control of how retention policies are applied, when a project is closed, and how content from the site is expired, including site mailboxes that are associated with sites (see below for more details).
SITE MAILBOXES/TEAM FOLDERS
Site Mailboxes allow you to consolidate content that is located in SharePoint and Exchange. This provides a single location to view and manage content from either of these systems. The lifecycle can be controlled using the site-based retention policies mentioned above.
One of SharePoint’s greatest strengths lies in its partner ecosystem, including implementation partners and software partners, and its ability to integrate with a wide variety of systems. While this applies to many areas of SharePoint, in the ECM world, it means powerful integration between SharePoint and vendors providing industry-leading ECM capabilities. For example, there are many excellent providers of imaging technologies that integrate seamlessly with SharePoint. Additionally, large scale ECM requires extremely robust compliance practices. When SharePoint alone isn’t enough, Microsoft partners like AvePoint have tools to enhance SharePoint’s capabilities. In almost all cases, you can be sure if a specific ECM capability isn’t included in SharePoint out of the box, a partner or third party product has already filled that gap.
Next week we’ll continue reviewing new features in the ECM umbrella by focusing on Web Content Management features.