Using SharePoint for Legal Records Management

SharePoint Legal Records Management, Encodian Filer

Firstly, what is Records Management? Let’s break it down quickly.   

Records – This is a document that can serve as legal evidence   

Management – The process of dealing with or controlling things or people   

Bring them together… Records Management systematically controls all records, regardless of media format, from their initial creation to final disposition.   

It considers all stages of a records lifecycle, such as – how it is used, stored, retrieved, preserved and eventually destroyed.  

It’s important to be clear whether your requirement is for records management or general document management… We won’t get into the broadness of document management in this blog. We’ll assume you are here correctly. 😉   

The challenge

Let’s take a simple example in many businesses (like yours?). There will be legal documents companies receive from their customers or employees. Documents such as Contracts, Sale Agreements, Invoices, Deeds, Employee Appraisals and similar. All these essential documents must be filed away, maintained and remain retrievable while ensuring compliance with internal policies and government-enforced legislation such as GDPR.   

Organisations without an effective digital legal records management solution will spend a lot of time and money:  

  • Managing disjointed record repositories (paper and/or digital) 
  • Searching and accessing records  
  • Preparing for litigation disputes  
  • Maintaining retention, access and disposal policies for each record   

And a whole load of additional micro frustrations you’re probably already aware of…   

The solution

Do you have SharePoint Online already? Then you may be halfway there.   

Touching lightly on the technical details, can records management be achieved with out-of-the-box Microsoft 365? The short answer is yes.   

We’ve intercepted customers building complex SharePoint lists for views and notes, PowerApps for record entry and supporting PowerAutomate flows or other lines of business integrations for automation…   

The problem with this approach is twofold:  

  1. Only 20 days into the project, you realise how big a task you’ve taken on. 
  2. You now have a relatively bespoke configuration that you need to support and maintain moving forward as compliance requirements change.  

That’s why Encodian developed Filer. A turnkey records management solution which sits on top of your SharePoint Online.   

Filer screenshot SharePoint EDRMs and legal records management

Screenshot of Filer

  

Deployment of SharePoint Legal Records Management

Deploying Filer is as simple as it gets. Together, we need to understand the following:   

⬜ What is the searchable context? An employee? A customer? A project?   

⬜ What are your document/record types?  

⬜ What are the rules for the records? Retention period? Access restrictions?   

⬜ What document/records need migrating in the first instance?  

Once we’ve run through these template questions, all of the above can be easily configured in days/hours via the Encodian Filer configuration portal. Avoiding the complexity of custom configuration.   

Line of business integration  

Encodian Filer’s OpenAPI and Encodian Flowr’s ‘Send to Filer’ action in Power Automate provide two very flexible and standards-based methods to create automated workflows from a line of business systems directly into Encodian Filer.  

This includes third-party systems, direct from scanning pipelines or digital mailrooms so that you can avoid manually filing records again.   

95%+ of the time, this is a straightforward process. For those odd occasions where things get tricky, it’s lucky Encodian has in-house development and systems integration expertise to help find a way.    

On-going support  

As a SaaS platform, Encodian Filer includes ongoing support, maintenance and updates. With a commitment to evolve and exploit the growing capabilities of Microsoft 365. Organisations using Encodian Filer are assured that their records management system remains up to date and compliant long into the future.   

The benefits

You’ve probably already worked them out by this point!  

✅ Reduced storage costs 
✅ time saved through operational efficiency 
✅ Improved accessibility for employees 
✅ Avoid getting caught out by litigation 
✅ Utilisation of your existing Microsoft 365 investment as a foundation 
✅ Remove configuration and support complexity   

Thank you for reading this blog. Hopefully, we’ve gone some way to convince you that SharePoint legal records management need not be too difficult. We’d love to hear from you.   

Contact us today for a demo. 👈 

7 reasons Local Governments are switching to SharePoint for records management

local government sharepoint records management

Most local and regional governments have thousands of staff members working across various services and departments. So when it comes to records management, you need to make sure all your documents are accessible anywhere, anytime, especially in the age of remote working. That’s where Microsoft’s SharePoint comes in!

Chances are, you already use Microsoft, but only the most innovative organisations are tapping deeper into Microsoft 365’s abilities. So, if you want to get the most out of your M365 license, you will have to turn to a Microsoft Partner like Encodian, particularly in SharePoint records management.

SharePoint is incredible for collaborative work, making it perfect for organisation document management, but records are a whole other game. Records management comes down to holding secure files that are rarely edited, which must be easy to search and retrieve. You must also demonstrate that you’re meeting compliance requirements through features like audit history, retention rules, user-based permissions and access. It’s here where SharePoint meets its challenges, and that’s why we created Filer. You can also find out more about how to use SharePoint effectively and efficiently for your business by talking to a SharePoint Consultant, you might even see a familiar name. 😉

Filer, your SharePoint EDRMS

Filer, your SharePoint EDRMs

Designed with several public bodies, Filer enables local and regional governmental organisations to implement native Microsoft 365 or SharePoint Online EDRMS, saving them hundreds of thousands.

But don’t take our word for it. Here are seven reasons local governments are switching to SharePoint for records management.

1. All of your data in one place

data servers

Filer sits on top of SharePoint, meaning your data is stored within your Microsoft 365 environment. It’s just organised in a way for you to be able to search and view records with ease. Maintaining data and IT security in one environment is far easier than having multiple. And if you’re already using Microsoft 365 with all its best-in-class security options, it makes sense to consolidate!

 

2. Centralised data security and compliance

safe

We know that data security is of the utmost importance for governmental organisations. And because Filer sits within your Microsoft Azure environment, you don’t need to worry about it! And when it comes to compliance, we not only adhere to your stringent viewing and editing user permissions, but we also ensure that your documents have retention and protection policies to prevent data loss.

Together we configure Filer following your Information Governance Policy and statutory and legislative requirements. We create the Information Architecture to ensure the system is configured with the correct metadata, classification structure, access types, and demographic information to suit the need of the department (e.g. Green Claims, Adults Social Care Services, Children’s Social Care Services, and more).

 

3. A friendly and familiar SharePoint EDRMS interface

Filer screenshot SharePoint EDRMs

Consistency is key! We have designed Filer, so your users won’t know where Filer starts, and SharePoint ends. The seamless transition from one to the other can only be realised through functionality rather than how it looks. Your users will be able to pick up Filer quicker than your average records management system. Filer is suited explicitly to providing digital ‘case files’ integrated with Line of Business systems (e.g. Liquid Logic).

 

4. Reduced licence and maintenance costs

cash

Standard on-premises EDRMS are expensive, and we know governmental organisations need to pinch the pennies wherever possible. So by getting rid of costly legacy systems, you can spend your money where it’s needed.

 

5. A Cloud-first, modern technology platform

Person using laptop

With everything sitting in the Cloud, you can be sure that your staff can access the records they need anywhere, anytime. You won’t have to rely on substantial software updates to keep your organisation running!

 

6. A SharePoint EDRMS means seamless integration with all Microsoft 365 services

Microsoft apps

With Filer sitting in M365, you can use Teams and Outlook precisely as you would with SharePoint. You can even utilise the Power Platform to automate processes and save you even more time. We have solutions that can speed this process up, too, take a look at Flowr and Trigr.

 

7. Go paperless or paper-less with a SharePoint records management

Filing cabinet before having a SharePoint EDRMs

Although reducing paper usage is imperative for protecting the planet and hitting sustainability goals, it’s not the only reason we’re moving into a digitised society. Your employees can access digital documents anywhere, anytime, meaning a more efficient organisation. No more waiting for something to be searched for, scanned and sent over. Everything is at your fingertips.

If you need help with your digitisation project, we can help with that too! Filer’s open API allows for simplified and standards-based systems integration and natively supports industry-standard document scanning technology for delivering end-to-end digital solutions. We work with a host of scanning partners who can scan, process, classify and ingest paper documents directly into Filer.

 

To see these benefits in your organisation or to find out more about adopting an M365-native EDRM solution,

👉 Contact us today!

How to Inbox Zero with Flowr

power automate email

Inbox Zero is a popular productivity strategy that involves clearing your inbox so you can focus on critical emails. It might sound daunting, but it’s easier to achieve when you have the right tools for the job. That’s why we want to talk about how you can use Power Automate to sort your emails!

Flowr, our Power Automate Connector, can save your bacon when it comes to an overwhelming inbox. You can use Power Automate to organise your emails automatically. How? We hear you ask. It’sIt’s simple! It uses smart filtering to move unread emails into separate folders based on the message type — all without requiring manual effort.

Check your inbox every day.

You should check your inbox every day. If you can’t, do it as often as you can or have time for. You will be surprised at how much time you spend on the emails sitting in your inbox, waiting for a response. 

If you want to send an email back out again, don’t worry! Just mark the message as “unread”. When you’re ready to send an email, click on “view all unread conversations”!

Organise emails into folders.

Create folders for each type of email, such as “Personal” or “Work.”

Use folders to keep emails organised and easy to find. Use the same folder structure for all your accounts (if you have more than one). If you don’t already have a folder set up, create one!

Don’t leave unread emails in your inbox.

One of the worst things you can do is leave unread emails in your inbox. You know the ones: messages from a friend, a colleague asking for help on a project, or even an email you need to reply to but have no idea how. Even though these may all be essential communications, they will clutter your inbox and make it harder for you to find other important messages. Instead of leaving them in your inbox like this, move them into separate folders that are designated only for those types of messages (for example, “Friends” or “Important”). Having your unread emails in different folders will allow you to keep all the communications related to one thing together. It’sIt’s all about making your emails easier to manage.

Unsubscribe from mailing lists.

If you’re an email subscriber, you can unsubscribe from mailing lists in your settings. I subscribe to emails constantly, and if I don’t get any value in the first week, there’s no point staying on the list!

If you have a specific list that you want to unsubscribe from, there will be an “unsubscribe” link at the bottom of every email sent by that list. Clicking on that link will remove you from the mailing list and stop future emails from coming into your inbox.

Automate your email folders.

Once you’ve set up your Flowr account, it’s time to start automating the processes of your inbox. Here are a few examples of automations that will help you reduce clutter and stay on top of your email:

  • Create an automated workflow for when someone emails you with questions about specific tasks and projects. A flow will allow them to send their inquiry directly into a project folder, where they’ll receive an auto-response (and hence no need for further communication). Creating a flow like this is something you can do in standard Power Automate!
  • Have all meeting invites automatically sent to Calendar. This way, no matter how busy you are or how many meetings or conferences are happening at once, there’s no excuse for missing one!

Use Flowr to you achieve Inbox Zero.

Let’s be honest, your inbox is probably a mess. And no judgement here. Mine was too, before I started using Flowr. It’s probably filled with emails from companies and coworkers, updates on the latest news and trends, and notifications about social media accounts—and those are just the ones you can see. There are probably even more unread messages that aren’t in your Focused section.

The good news is an easy way to eliminate all that clutter: Flowr!

Flowr is a Power Automate connector that lets you automate email workflows. You can use Flowr to automatically:

  • Convert specific emails into PDFs and save them to a SharePoint folder.
  • Convert, merge and save attachments to a SharePoint folder.
  • If someone is sending images, you can convert and compress those too!
  • OCR your PDFs for easy searching.

For a more in-depth look at automating emails, check out these blog posts.

Flowr is an excellent tool for helping you achieve Inbox Zero, if we do say so ourselves…

Want to give it a go? ⚡️ Start your free trial today!

Trigr? What’s that?!

Trigr

So, what’s Trigr? 

Trigr is a revolutionary new tool to save your team time through automations accessed directly from SharePoint.
The clever thing is that with Trigr, you only need to deploy one Power Automate Flow per automation for all your SharePoint libraries and lists.

How does Trigr deploy Flows to SharePoint? 

To deploy Flows across your SharePoint estate, all you need to do is follow three easy steps. 

Create a Power Automate flow

Step 1. Create a Power Automate Flow 

You do this the same way as you usually would, with one exception, when choosing your Flow’s trigger, you select Encodian’s “Trigr”! See where we got the name from? 😉
Dynamic data is passed through Trigr and is useable in your Flow, giving you endless possibilities! 

 

Add a new Trigr in the admin portal

Step 2. Add and configure a Trigr in the Encodian Admin Portal 

Here you can manage all your Trigrs. Enable/disable them for use or edit/delete them through our simple interface. You can also configure the title, description and run message displayed to the end users. 

 

Configure and deploy your flow

Step 3. Deploy your Flow 

Select where you want to deploy your Flow, which SharePoint sites and whether to target libraries or lists or both! All you need to do now is click Create
Your users can then access your automations without ever seeing Power Automate. 

How do my users access my Flows? 

In their familiar SharePoint interface, users select as many documents as they’d like and access your automations by simply clicking the Actions button in their SharePoint command bar. They can choose from any Flows you’ve given them access to by clicking Start, which will trigger the selected Flow. 

What’s the downside? 

Well, the downside is that your team will get so used to using automations that manual tasks will be a thing of the past. Strictly, it’s not a downside, but there must be people out there who love manual tasks. 

 

But if you’re not one of those people, ⚡️ start your 30-day free trial today

 

You’re deploying flows to SharePoint completely wrong.

A woman on her computer frustrated whilst deploying Power Automate flows to SharePoint

Do you know what most Power Automate experts say is their biggest issue when deploying Flows to SharePoint? Having to make a new damn Flow for every single SharePoint site. Even if it’s the exact same Flow… 

Do you know what’s even worse than making a new Flow for each site? Maintaining them all.
The average Power Automate specialist spends almost 5 hours a week deploying and maintaining Flows to SharePoint. That’s over 250 hours a year.  

They literally spend more time with this monotonous task than they would with their own children. (Office of National Statistics) 

That’s why we’ve created Trigr. 

Gone are the days you have to spend hours replicating your work.
Gone are the days you have to implement workarounds to save yourself a little time.
Save your team DAYS with Trigr. 

So what is Trigr? 

Trigr is the simplest way to deploy Power Automate Flows across your entire SharePoint estate. Instead of wasting your time dealing with duplicated Flows for each site, with Trigr, you only need one.

Your Trigr Flows appear in your Encodian account portal. You then name your Flow, give it a description, and select who’ll have access and where you want to deploy it. That’s it! Your users can then start using your Flows without ever seeing Power Automate.    

That’s one of the reasons why your users will love Trigr, they access your automations by clicking a button in their SharePoint command bar. They can also select as many documents as they’d like as they choose from any Flows you’ve given them access to. Because they’re in a familiar and friendly environment, they’re much more likely to use your automations so you can see the greatest return on investment.  

Ready to deploy flows to SharePoint?

So, save not only your company time but your own. 
Get back to the fun part of your job, ⚡️ start your free trial today. 

Say Hello to Trigr: Deploy Flows Across SharePoint

Trigr - Deploy Flows Across SharePoint

After months of hard work from the Encodian team, we are delighted to announce the release of our latest product Trigr. 

Trigr enables you to make a single Power Automate flow available across all your SharePoint Online sites. It also introduces much-requested features such as multiple document selection and dynamic forms (which even includes a People Picker). Simply create a Flow and configure Trigr to set where and how you want your users to access it.  

The seamless integration heightens the ease of Trigr for end users into SharePoint Online. Your users can access your Power Automate flows wherever they are in SharePoint, all at the click of a button.  

With a combined experience of over 40 years, Encodian Founders Jay Goodison and James Sales have come across use cases for Trigr time and time again. So, with this release, they are excited to tackle time management and quality issues related to Power Automate flow duplication. Not to mention the associated maintenance, as well as seeing true automation accessibility for company-wide use. 

With Version 1 being released this week and a short demo video walking you through the basics, Jay explains that future versions have more to come. Including SharePoint event-based triggers and exposing Trigr to other M365 applications. 

 

Test Trigr at your company, click the link to start your 30-day free trial. No contract, no catches and no credit card required. 

⚡️ Start your free trial today.