Documentum Records Manager – Retention Policy Services

Ok, so following on from the post on Records Manager I said I would post on the Retention Policy element of the product. Remember this is also available as a stand alone product.

Firstly, this is the most complicated of the 4 policies available within Records Manager, but then it does the most complicated work.

Secondly, when you read the marketing material you get the impression there is a lot in there, one thing which was interesting to me was the ability to assign a document to be reviewed when its policy expires before taking action, i.e. letting the decision drive the action. I’ll come back to this.

Retention Policies are actually lifecycles which are applied to an object which is associated with the document. With a Retention Policy you can have Phases, Authorities and Conditions. Authorities sounds like very grand terms and I expected them to be users of the system who must authorise actions, they are not, they are just a label in all truth. At the end of the Retention period a number of actions may be initiated including Destroy, Export and Review…in numerous guises. Destroy does as it says on the tin. Review merely holds the object at the phase until someone elects to push it on. Export is interesting as it exports the source object and the metadata to a location which can be defined. This actually looks like an interesting feature which could be explored for other uses.

Back to review though, assuming I have a Retention Policy which states I want the document reviewed before an action takes place. Well thats all it will do, Review, you have to create another Policy for the destruction if it is approved. And there is no easy way to let someone choose whether to Destroy or not. In fact the way to achieve the functionality I mentioned earlier would be best achieved with a custom lifecycle and some custom workflows, ideally achieved through BPM.

Conditions too are something which appear to be more than they are, as with Authorities they are just labels for the Policy to follow. If you want real conditional processing then this would need to be built into either a lifecycle definition or into a Business Process which drives an object through a lifecycle.

With Retention Policy Services it is clear there is a good framework for a solution, but it is far from the end solution. As with most Documentum products there is a starting point which needs to be extended through the usual methods of lifecycles, workflows etc…. The management of the Policies looks to be sound enough and once you have understood what you do or do not get then there is no reason why a strong solution cannot be put in place.