Synopsis of the requirements:
BEIS was faced by a mounting volume of data and records with no clear path towards dealing with the legislated requirements of data retention and disposal. Data management within BEIS is the responsibility of the Knowledge and Information Management (KIM) Team.
Led by Paul Welch OBE, Departmental Records Officer and Head of KIM and ably assisted by Jack Mears, Assistant Departmental Records Officer, the KIM Team set about looking for systems that would solve this problem by automating most if not all of their requirements.
Ultimately, BEIS wanted to consolidate and standardise how it managed and stored information, while addressing the following key requirements:
1. Consolidate and manage 25 – 30 Terabytes (TB) of data stored in Microsoft SharePoint, both recent and legacy.
– Develop a retention and disposal system that is compliant with current policy and legislation, while still retaining the security access settings of SharePoint.
– With the latest strategy to store data in SharePoint, the ability to migrate data to SharePoint for the application of the new retention and disposal system.
– Or, to apply the new retention and disposal system with the data remaining in situ. i.e. Fileshares and WPS etc.
2. The need to include physical records within the new retention and disposal system.
– Identifying location, box and folders as appropriate and flagging up actions that need to be carried out.
– Circulation tracking using bar codes, with full reports.
3. Full audit trails of all actions carried out on the system.
The OfficeLabs solution:
Operational in its current form since 2012, OfficeLabs is a Microsoft partner for Microsoft 365 with a particular area of expertise in Microsoft SharePoint. OfficeLabs are also listed on the Government purchasing system, G-Cloud 11 and soon to be G-Cloud 12, the Digital Marketplace.
OfficeLabs had looked at this type of requirement previously for similar organisations and had realised that SharePoint alone could not provide a complete solution. OfficeLabs went out to the market to find a robust solution for data records management and an American company called Gimmal inc. seemed to have most if not all the answers. In due course OfficeLabs became the sole UK supplier of Gimmal Records Management (GRM) software.
OfficeLabs were contacted by the KIM team at BEIS, with a view to helping find a solution for the data management problem at BEIS.
A team of experienced consultants from OfficeLabs working closely with the KIM Team at BEIS carried out a detailed and exhaustive analysis of the data management issues. Subsequently, it was agreed that OfficeLabs would deploy a Gimmal Records Management solution to resolve all BEIS’s KIM requirements. It was further agreed that with the current heavy workload of the BEIS IT department it would make sense to take advantage of utilising Gimmal Records Management as a SaaS solution. Microsoft were approached and agreed to ensure that the data centres used for the Project would be in the United Kingdom.
The OL team, assisted by a Subject Matter Expert (SME) from Gimmal USA started the sequence of tasks that lead to the roll out of Gimmal Records Management software in February 2019. The following key milestones were achieved and have been scheduled:
1. Workshops to develop the retention schedule, declare records and the disposal of unwanted data for the whole SharePoint data bank.
2. BEIS decided that their first step in terms of bringing data into compliance, would be to run Gimmal Records Management across the SharePoint archive.
3. The next phase of the project will be the Disposition of live data on SharePoint, with a view to bringing it into compliance.
4. Further phases will include:
– The disposition of data on several File shares and other data storage devices e.g. WPS, OneDrive.
– The disposition and tracking of Physical records.
So far, the Gimmal Records Management Project has been a complete success with many Terabytes of data being brought into compliance. The Project continues to gather pace and grow. In the not too distant future all BEIS data will have the correct disposition of data with compliant retention schedules and disposal of unwanted data. Where appropriate data will be classified as records and where it will be retained beyond its retention setting it will be transferred to The National Archive (TNA).
Comments from OfficeLabs:
“With enterprise IT systems being around for the past 20 years, many organisations have found themselves in the position of storing large amounts of archive data without a clear method of classifying and identifying what information is of value and what can be safely disposed of. Working closely with Gimmal and BEIS, we provided a way to begin the challenging process of understanding what could be deleted and what is of value. Going forward, the Gimmal Records Management application now automatically applies classification, retention policies and a way for the organisation to keep track of their data storage into the future, and this will avoid BEIS being in the same place in another 20 years.”
Graham Bidwell – CEO
OfficeLabs focuses on offering the best information management, automation, governance and compliance tools in the industry. If you need a portal, intranet, workflow, records management solution or any other mechanism to communicate, collaborate and share information, please get in touch today.