Business Productivity and Information Architecture

  • Michael Nemtsev

    Hello, my name is Michael Nemtsev and I welcome you on my blog about Microsoft technologies, Business Productivity and Information Management

    I'm a Senior Consultant in "Enterprise Services" team @Microsoft, based in Sydney, Australia, helping clients to architect solutions in Business Productivity area. I'm an Ex-MVP (2005-2011) in .NET/C# and SharePoint Server

    If you have any questions about Information Management and Business Productivity feel free to ask via Contact Form page







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October 2010 - Posts

Information Record Management standard

Intro

For the ECM systems a lot of organizations (especially government) require solutions to be compliant with AS ISO 15489 standard that defines Records Management requirements for the following procedures:

  • Records creation and capturing
  • Active Records management (centralized/decentralized, filling records, maintenance, barcoding)
  • Records appraisal and disposal planning
  • Policy and procedures documentation
  • Training programmes
  • Management of inactive records
  • Vital records protection

Each Record Management system consists from the following components (in general):

  • Individuals who create or maintain the records
  • policies, procedures and practices
  • documentation presenting policies, procedures and practices, including procedures manuals and guidelines
  • records themselves
  • specialised information and records systems used to control the records
  • software, hardware, and other equipment and stationery used in recordkeeping

with the following lifecycle of records

  • Creation
  • Distribution
  • Utilization
  • Active record storage
  • Record transferring
  • Inactive record storage
  • Record disposion

when “record” is characterized by:

  • Authenticity (can be proven)
  • Reliability (can be trusted, accurate and attested)
  • Integrity (complete and unaltered)
  • Useability (can be located, retrieved, presented and interpreted)

 

Designing and Implemented of Record Managements System

One of the most critical aspects of creating Record Management system is Requirements Gathering and Analysis to produce Business Classification Schema. A requirements gathering for RM consists in following steps:

  • Gather information on the business activities of the organisation
  • Map them into a classification scheme (detailing functions, activities and transactions)
  • Establish what records of business activity need to be created
  • Consider legislative and other external record keeping requirements

all of them are focused on business functions, activities and transactions, with the analysis phase as:

  • Analyse and summarise collected data to develop and evaluate alternative solutions
  • Techniques range from flowcharting to sophisticated modelling
  • Requires an objective fresh approach to the task
  • Choice of ‘best’ alternative depends on wide range of factors
  • cost-benefit analysis

The overall process of designing and implementing of Record Managements system is very formalized approach, called as “DIRS", and is summarized on the following diagram:

image

 

Business Classification Schema

AS ISO 15489 standard relies on classification schemas to improve the records retrieval and to limit the searching process. The recommended schema is Business Classification Schema that assist records management by:

  • Providing linkages between individual records which accumulate to provide a continuous record of activity
  • Ensuring records are named in a consistent manner over time
  • Assisting in the retrieval of all records relating to a particular function or activity
  • Determining security protection and access appropriate for sets of records
  • Allocating user permissions for access to, or action on, particular groups of records
  • Distributing records for action
  • Determining appropriate retention periods and disposition actions for records

Such classification provides a basis for arranging and retrieving records, when records should be organized in hierarchy of Series->Sub-series->Files->Documents and have the minimum set of metadata (unique ID, data and time of registration, title or description, author) with additional properties as data and time of communication, sender, recipient, link to related document, system where the record has been captured, standard, access, retention period and etc.

Creation of Business Classification Schema should follow next steps:

  • Gather documentary information and conduct interviews
  • Understand overall mission/objectives of the organisation
  • Derive and list the functions needed to achieve objectives
  • Identify hierarchies of activities which support each function
  • Identify the transactions which operationalize each activity
  • Identify processes/activities common across functions
  • Produce a map of the hierarchies for each function

Effective retrieval requires knowledge of classification and indexing techniques and a thorough understanding of the organisation’s activities

Most Common Problems of Records Management

1) The most affecting part of Record Management system is legislation requirements that require compliance with: 

  • Statutes of limitations
  • Tax legislation
  • Corporations legislation
  • Financial institutions legislation
  • Trade practices legislation
  • Health legislation
  • Evidence legislation
  • Privacy and freedom of information legislation
  • Electronic transactions legislation
  • Legislation governing the disposal of public records

2) Cultural problems

  • People not inclined to share information
  • People think relying on others reduces their own reputation
  • People see themselves as experts and refuse collaboration

3) Records Maintenance

  • a lack of understanding of cost of storing useless records or inappropriate storage procedures
  • Locating lost records
  • Locating incorrectly filed records
  • Duplication of records
  • Records not available when needed
  • Inconsistency of filing, retrieval, charge out or follow up of records

    Source

    Posted: Tue, Oct 26 2010 10:01 by Michael | with no comments
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    Business Intelligence–why do we need ETL and OLAP? Conceptual model

    For these who start in Business Intelligence, such words as ETL and OLAP might be already known, but it’s quite hard to find really good description of WHY do we need these activities for Business Intelligence and what’s the conceptual process of building a BI system.

    Let’s review BI artefacts and their relation between each other. The most common BI system evolve through the following steps:

    1. Normalized database
    2. Data Warehouse/Mart
    3. OLAP

    This can be represented by the picture below (taken from “Microsoft SharePoint 2010 PerformancePoint Services Unleashed” book)

    imageStep 1 – Database storage. All information is saving into relation database in the normalized format (usually), that allows to manipulate data effectively. Information stored in database is represented in flat format, that is very efficient for the data storage and retrieval.

    Step 2 – Measures and Dimensions. Database systems store terabytes of data, which is just a raw data and not usable from the business perspective. For the business level we need to have “information” instead of data.  There is a quite significant difference between “data” and “information” - data is an information, but information *is not* a data. For analysis purposes we need to converted data to information.

    Definition: “Information is an organised data, in the form relevant for us”. It means that to get “Information” we need to extract the most valuable data and transform it to the usable form (this process is called ETL – extract, process and load). In the result of this transformation we get “Measures”. Measures are exactly that information you want to analyse. Measures examples: sales, defective product, staff retention. However, measures need to be specified by range of something. We need to create “Dimension” to group all our Measured by relevant values. For example, dimension can be identified as: period of time, region, category, thus dimension allows us to group measures by context (in other words, group similar values to filter your information). Take into account that dimensions can be organized in hierarchies. For example, sales measures can be dimensioned by country, then by state, then by city and then by price.

    Step 3 – Cube. Organizing data in measures which are categorized by dimensions is resulting into the OLAP cube (Online analytical processing) created from a specific schema (star or snowflake). Cube representation allows to analyse data using different approach to drill, aggregate, decompose and report data for the forecasting, budgeting, planning, and other purposes.

    Posted: Wed, Oct 20 2010 0:39 by Michael | with no comments
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    PerformancePoint 2010 Features– what’s new and what’s gone

    Release of SharePoint 2010 provides PerformancePoint as the Service Application for the SharePoint platform with the following new features:

    • PPS object storage in SharePoint lists and libraries
    • Filters as objects that can be shared across dashboards
    • Calculated KPIs, which enable you to perform calculations from several different data sources
    • Dynamic hierarchy support, which updates a hierarchy when the data source is updated
    • Multiple KPI actuals
    • Hierarchies as connection points in the filter framework
    • Variance between actual and target values displayed on a scorecard
    • Empty-row filtering
    • KPIs natively on columns
    • Scorecard drill-down
    • Toolbar sorting and filtering redesign
    • KPI details report
    • Native support for the decomposition tree
    • Pie charts
    • SQL Server Analysis Services Conditional Formatting in Analytic Reports

    However, a few features, that existed in PerformancePoint 2007, have been removed, such as:

    • Dashboard previews
    • OLAP Data Sources
    • OWC (Office Web Components), which include Pivot Tables and Pivot Charts
    • ODBC (Open Database Connectivity) data source connection
    • Trend analysis report

    Source: “Microsoft SharePoint 2010 PerformancePoint Services Unleashed

    Posted: Mon, Oct 18 2010 0:39 by Michael | with 1 comment(s)
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    Records and Information Management features of SharePoint 2010

    In one of my recent SharePoint project I tried to map client’s requirements to SharePoint 2010 features, and I found series of articles on Rez's SharePoint Blog quite useful. Author describes the major features of Records and IM in SharePoint 2010 with a few samples.

    Here, I publish links on author’s posts with the summary of features for each category:

    1. Document IDs (can generate custom ID format)
    2. Managed Metadata Service | Term Store (managed terms and enterprise keywords, linked to lists)
    3. In-Place Records Declarations (policies for content types and libraries; no dependency on Record Centre; wiki pages, blog posts, article pages are the records)
    4. Site Collection Auditing
    5. Content Organizer (Routing Rules from SharePoint 2007 are now replaced by content organizer; rules priorities; subfolders creation; email routing)
    6. Hold and eDiscovery
    7. Content Type Publishing Hubs (central location to manage and publish content types)
    8. Retention (inheritance)
    9. Virtual folders and metadata based navigation  (subfolders inherit metadata; Virtual folder can replace views)

    Challenges:

    • can’t modify document content after record has been created
    • no item-level security on records
    Posted: Sat, Oct 16 2010 19:25 by Michael | with 1 comment(s)
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