If you are thinking of using SharePoint for electronic records management, you may also find yourself thinking about how you are going to be validating the system.
SharePoint validation is fairly straight-forward, but it will require some preparation on your part. Here is a list of steps to take to prepare for a successful validation project.
Step 1. Decide if your SharePoint instance actually needs to be validated
Understand the intended use of system. Ask yourself if the system will be used to manage regulated electronic records. If your inspectable records are still paper-based, then you may not need to validate SharePoint at all. If your inspectable records are logically segregated from non-regulated documents (based on your SharePoint architecture), then you may only need to validate isolated sections of the system.
Step 2. Prepare a project planGet organized. List out the required activities and figure out how much time you need. Validating SharePoint could take longer than you think, but with the right resources and proper planning, you could close out the project in little time. Get commitment from the project sponsor, and then from your assigned resources.
Step 3. Get your infrastructure readyYou can’t build a house without a solid foundation. The same is true for SharePoint. Design your infrastructure so that it supports the SharePoint architecture that suits your business needs. Consider storage and performance requirements. Consider a cloud-based service model.
Step 4. Get your procedures readyYou need proper procedures (e.g. change control, security, data backup and recovery, etc.) to ensure your system is maintained under a state of control. Your system cannot be considered validated without the proper procedures in place.
Step 5. Train people
- Train your system administrator(s). They need to maintain the system’s state of control and must be aware of user access management procedures and change management policies.
- Train your validation team. Make sure that people involved in system verification activities are aware of validation policies and good documentation practices.
Step 6. Prepare the required documentation
Requirements, Specifications, Test Protocols – all are needed. Consider leveraging the knowledge of consultants who have worked with SharePoint before. One working session with subject matter experts can boost the learning curve of your in-house resources dramatically. And this will accelerate document preparation and improve document quality.
As with any validation project, proper planning is crucial for the successful validation of your SharePoint instance. Understanding what you are faced with before you start the project will help you restrict scope, and avoid technical hiccups. Being prepared with the right resources and tools will save you lots of time (and money) in the long run.