Can SharePoint Online replace third-party records management tools?

Records management solutions – such as Objective and Meridio – have earned their place in IT leaders’ software arsenals, providing valuable functionality to businesses and ensuring compliance to the letter with industry regulations, key standards and legislation.

However, with the volume of compliance requirements increasing, businesses tightening their belts, and traditional records management platforms getting long in the tooth, many organisations are now investigating alternative methods of modernising their records management capability.

The good news is that there is now an alternative to those legacy platforms. The even better news is that, if your organisation uses Microsoft 365 enterprise licences, you’re likely already equipped with the tools you need, ready to be configured.

Records management in SharePoint Online

For M365 E5 users, Microsoft 365’s new, extensive records management capability is already available to you. For Microsoft E3 subscribers, you’ll need to buy add-on licenses for your users – but even those will come at a fraction of the cost of an entire records management suite.

Better still, because this records management functionality is integrated directly with the rest of Microsoft 365, your users won’t have the burden of an additional task each time they want to declare a document, email or conversation as a record.

At its heart is Microsoft Information Protection (MIP), which adds an intuitive layer of logical tools onto the already familiar SharePoint platform. MIP is part of Microsoft’s M365 E5 package, and can be added onto E3 licenses for a small additional cost.

Benefits of records management with M365

Anyone with experience of managing an IT budget will immediately recognise the potential savings associated with dropping the bespoke records management tool. But using SharePoint Online to manage compliance has even more benefits than the direct cost saving, meaning it isn’t just a like-for-like tool with a lower cost – it actually offers more.


Being built within Microsoft 365 offers the advantage of full integration with the platform your employees use every day, without the need for additional, clunky plugins.


Microsoft Information Protection is essentially logical tools applied to standard folder structures within SharePoint, meaning your records management policies can be applied across Microsoft 365 workloads such as Viva, Teams, and more.


As it’s built into Microsoft 365, the records management capability is applied in the cloud, whether your staff are working on organisation-managed computers, their own laptops, or even mobile devices – all without any extra software. This is a distinct advantage for those businesses adopting hybrid or remote workplaces.


Managing permissions is as simple as your administrator applying a policy to an area of M365 such as a SharePoint site or Microsoft Teams channel. Records management policies can also be inherited based on your folder hierarchy.


If you already use SharePoint Online, your support teams will already know how to administrate the platform, meaning the transition from third-party records management solutions to Microsoft can be achieved more easily.


Legacy records management solutions often reside on physical hardware, either in a server cupboard, or in a data centre. SharePoint Online is hosted entirely on Microsoft’s cloud network. Therefore, cooling and power falls under Microsoft’s bold, extensive carbon management program.

Tertiary costs

There is a direct cost saving associated with moving away from third-party, legacy records management solutions. However, there are more opportunities to flatten that budget line that will make your stakeholders take notice. In contrast to bespoke records management tools, MIP and SharePoint Online do not require physical servers constrained by three-year lifespans, heavy hardware support contracts, and compulsory software support agreements. Additionally, now that all eyes are watching power costs, you can report a lower IT operating cost with lower risk.

Records management is now convenient

Yes, SharePoint Online can replace third-party records management tools.  But more than that, SharePoint Online provides greater compatibility, functionality, accessibility, integration, and security, all with the added benefits of lower cost per user and a lower carbon output. Therefore, SharePoint Online has taken what some may deem to be the burden of compliance and labelling requirements, and made it intuitive, convenient, and simple – and that’s the mark of an effective solution.

Find out more about the records management capabilities of SharePoint Online and Microsoft 365.

If you’d like to discuss your records management requirements with us, talk to our specialists now. We’re always happy to discuss your needs and how we can help.

Get in touch with our friendly team now:

The CompanyNet Team

The CompanyNet team has more than 20 years’ experience of creating Microsoft digital workplaces that really work.

We’re a tight-knit team that delivers results for customers including Scottish Water, Mencap, the Student Loans Company, Walt Disney, Tesco Bank, the Scottish Housing Regulator and many more.

We’re always keen to discuss whether we can help you get more out of Office 365.

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