Using FileNet Records Manager with custom objects

IBM FileNet Records Manager is an excellent product for managing archival and retention of an organisation’s records. As you would expect, its most common application is in dealing with electronic documents. And it can also handle physical documents too.

A little while ago I was working on a customer assignment where both Records Manager and BPF is deployed. BPF cases comprise both a Process Engine work item, and a Content Engine custom object. At the end of the workflow, the work item is naturally terminated, however the Case’s custom object will continue to live on indefinitely. So this is rectified within the workflow design by incorporating an additional step at the end of the workflow that will delete the custom object.

However, this particular customer wanted to keep the case custom objects alive for a number of years after Case closure – this is because each Case possesses a useful historical audit trail (stored as Bp8AuditLogItem custom objects).

So you would think that since Records Manager is being used in this installation that it would be a simple means of managing the retention of these Case custom objects? Not so. Records Manager does not support custom objects, and it’s something I don’t understand. A custom object is nothing more than a document without content, so surely it would have been little effort to add this as a feature? Hopefully someone will leave a comment to explain this to me.

In the meantime, the obvious solution was to develop a custom event handler. The BPF case lifetime was tied into the document’s, so the event handler was triggered by documents getting deleted, and responded by clearing up all of BPF’s associated custom objects.

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