FileTrail 4-1

Cloud Computing Cuts Cost of SharePoint Solutions

In recent years Cloud Computing, formerly called Hosted Solutions or Software-as-a-Service, has become a popular option.  It reduces capital outlay in exchange for a monthly fee, shifting the cost of a solution from capital expenditure to operating expense. FileTrail has used Cloud-compatible development tools since 2001.  We first began hosting solutions for our clients in the Summer of 2001.  Today we host solutions for clients in many industries, with organizations from 100 to 5,000 employees, including Fortune 100 companies.  These clients are managing a range of 2,000 to 4 million items, that include physical records, assets, evidence, and more.

The newest release of our product continues to utilize this technology as Cloud Computing has become more popular.  This includes our FileTrail for SharePoint product as large enterprises are increasingly hosting SharePoint solutions.

Records Managers Have Oversight Using the Physical Item Dashboard in FileTrail for SharePoint 4.1

FileTrail has enhanced the Physical Item Dashboard with additional metrics and functionality.  FileTrail’s unique approach makes it automatically adjust to fit the individual user, relying on security settings.  This provides different, but appropriate, sets of metrics and functionality to users in different roles.

  • Records Managers gains oversight of activity and work to be done at an enterprise, national, regional or office level.
  • File Room Managers gain oversight of activity and work to be done in their file room.
  • Records Center Managers gain oversight of activity and work to be done in their file room.
  • File Room Staff are alert to work to be done in their file room, including files to pull and deliver, boxes to order from storage, new files to create and label, overdue items, and more. 
  • Records Center Staff are prompted for work to be done in their facility, including pickups, retrievals, auditing, and more.
  • Records Coordinators gain oversight of requests and activity related to the staff they support.  They may be given access to create, label, search, request, box and archive physical items.
  • Department staff are presented with a summary of their pending requests, items checked out to them.  They may be given access to create, label, search, request, box and archive physical items.

New RFID Tagging Function Simplifies Tracking

FileTrail has released a new feature for its two latest RFID SmartMobile models – the S214 and 3090.  Now, RFID Tags can be easily assigned using the portable RFID reader.  This allows back-conversion of items or tagging of new items without requiring that they be brought to a central desk.  This is a great breakthrough for clients using FileTrail to track file folders, boxes, assets, furniture or evidence.




Ribbon Bar Manages Physical Records in FileTrail for SharePoint 4.1

In SharePoint the Ribbon Bar is a key tool that allows users to perform frequent actions and actions against multiple records.  In an out-of-the-box SharePoint implementation, the Ribbon Bar gives users access to functions such as creating a new document, uploading new documents, checking out multiple documents and more.  However, all of these functions are used with electronic records.  FileTrail created the Physical Item Ribbon Bar because SharePoint has no functions that deal with the unique needs of physical items and records.  This Ribbon Bar appears in SharePoint automatically once the document library has been registered.

The Physical Item Ribbon Bar provides tools for staff who are responsible for creating new records.  The New Physical Item function supports creation of new records.  While bar coded and even color coded labels may be printed from the Ribbon Bar.  Labels can also be re-printed if needed.

The Physical Item Ribbon Bar provides tools for staff who are responsible for archiving.  Staff can create new boxes using pre-printed bar code labels from their vendor, then fill boxes with records using a bar code scanner or search-and-select.  Staff can also search and request retrieval of archived records.

The Records Manager is also given tools for monitoring the activity of staff who use the Physical Records Ribbon Bar.  Oversight of boxes created and staged help determine the timing to order pickup by a storage vendor.  Similarly, the Records Manager monitors requests for retrieval, acting as a gatekeeper to control costs by controlling request priority and pooling requests into an order once or twice per day.

The Physical Item Ribbon Bar provides many other tools for staff to work with and process physical items and records.  In addition, the key built-in features of SharePoint – including retention, legal holds, work flow, and more – work seamlessly on physical and electronic records.

The Physical Records Ribbon Bar provides users with functions specific to handling physical records.

Scalability Enhanced in FileTrail for SharePoint 4.1

The new release of FileTrail for SharePoint has dramatically improved scalability.  Our latest efforts in this area are the direct result of opportunities we have seen to improve the ease with which our clients are able to deploy physical records management across the enterprise. There is one key challenge in working with the SharePoint enterprise.  And, it is a challenge not only to FileTrail but to the SharePoint administrator.  This is centralizing control and applying standards across the many document libraries.  Among our current clients there are those with tens of thousands of document libraries, and potentially hundreds of thousands.

Over the years, the ease with which new document libraries can be created has led to a proliferation in the spread of SharePoint.  Now, as organizations try to apply standards and policies – such as retention and legal holds – the number of document libraries and the diversity of configurations make any individual task daunting.

Doing physical records management in SharePoint requires that some choices be made.  For example who is allowed to do functions (search, create and label, box and archive, request retrieval, etc), where to archive (an internal records center or a commercial records center), what file room is used, if any, and what services are provided (pull and deliver, pull and hold, copying, faxing, scan on demand, etc.), definition of media (what can go inside of what), etc.  These configuration options can be exasperating when you start to think about doing it for tens of thousands of document libraries.

FileTrail has simplified the process of deploying physical records management.  Following Microsoft’s approach of the Content Types Hub, configuration options are set in a central hub that controls security, definition of file rooms, file room services, records centers, media, and more.  Using this centralized hub approach deployment to an additional document library has become a single step:  simply register the document library and map its content types to a specific media and everything else is automatic. 

As our clients continue to roll out FileTrail for SharePoint to more areas we will continue to seek opportunities to enhance functionality and reduce administration.  A forthcoming Registration function in our Web Services library will allow the registration to be done programmatically, potentially automatically when new document libraries are created.