Oracle updates records management system

Oracle hopes to take the hassle out of unstructured content and the legal discovery process.

Oracle has updated a key component of its acquired ECM software firm Stellent Inc. in late 2006.

"This is the first release of Universal Records Management under Oracle," said Brian Dirking, an Oracle principal product manager. "It does electronic records management as well as physical records management, so you can manage your boxes as well as your electronic data. And it gives you a single console and a view into that content."

Oracle Universal Records Management lets users automate and centrally manage file plans, retention policies, dispositions, holds and discovery information, according to Oracle.

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"Records management is becoming increasingly more important because organizations are facing retention management and compliance requirements," said Ken Chin, a research vice president with Stamford, Conn.-based IT analyst firm Gartner Inc. "This is basically [an example of Oracle] buying technologies that they can then integrate into the broader Fusion Middleware suite, and I think that's really the future -- providing the additional capability to manage unstructured content along with the structured content."

Most enterprises have strong processes in place for handling physical paper documents, but they're still in the early stages of implementing systems that properly manage electronic documents and email, Chin explained.

"[Managing electronic documents is] a much bigger challenge because you have to deal with a lot more volume and then you also have to categorize all the different content in terms of what is a record, what's not and how long it needs to be retained," he said. "[But electronic] records management is key in terms of retaining that critical business content that may be used for compliance and discovery purposes."

Simplifying legal discovery

New capabilities included with the latest version of Oracle Universal Records Management are aimed at simplifying and reducing the cost of legal discovery and giving users a more consistent, legally defensible set of policies, says Oracle.

The system includes a dedicated use license for Oracle Secure Enterprise Search and new functionality to let users apply records and retention policies across content repositories. Oracle Secure Enterprise Search lets users find and access content by using a search box similar to those found on popular Internet search engines like Google.

The new release also offers records management capabilities for electronic documents that businesses classify as non-records. Oracle says this feature is critical to handling a broad rage of information that has been deemed admissible in litigation.

"We allow you to apply these policies to the data where it already resides," explained Greg Crider, Oracle's senior director of product marketing. "We don't make you copy the data over to another location. This makes it vastly more efficient and reduces the kind of redundant storage that other records management approaches might have."

The release also includes adaptors that allow the system to be used in conjunction with Oracle Universal Content Management and Oracle Imaging and Process Management, as well as a generic adapter for non-Oracle content repositories.

Oracle Universal Records Management is currently available as a standalone product for $100,000 per processor, or as part the Oracle ECM Suite, which includes Oracle Universal Content Management, Oracle Imaging and Process Management, and Oracle Universal Records Management for $150,000 per processor. More information is available on Oracle's Web site.

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