AIIM – Here’s What I Want


aiim-logoIn his post from last week, Laurence Hart lays out his thoughts about the current state of affairs vis a vis professional associations in the Information Management space. Much of what he wrote is focused on AIIM. While not specific to AIIM, Donda Young also wrote last week about her thoughts about associations and what she’d like.

For those of you not familiar with it, AIIM is a professional association for Information Management. As far as I’m concerned, AIIM is the association for Information Management. Don’t take the preceding sentence to mean that I think AIIM is perfect; it’s not.

I’ve written this to tell AIIM what I, as an Information Management Professional, want and need from them. It’s quite likely that I’ll think of other things after pressing “publish” and that other IM Pros will have other things that they want to see (feel free to add them via comments, better yet, tell AIIM directly). It’s also likely that some readers will disagree with what I’ve written.

First of all, I have no clue about what it takes to run an association other than it doesn’t seem easy. Secondly, on balance I have to say that my involvement with AIIM (since 2008/09) has been beneficial to me, professionally and personally. I’ve availed myself of training and certification, I’ve attended the annual conference a few times, I’ve used some of the available resources, and I’ve developed relationships with some pretty smart, talented, and nice people. My involvement with AIIM has most certainly made me a better, smarter Information Professional, Certified, even.

Training and Certification

I agree with several others when they say that AIIM’s “entry level” training is pretty good. In fact, I’ve taken three of AIIM’s courses and gotten the Master certificate for Enterprise Content Management (ECM), Electronic Records Management (ERM – I have fond memories of VG telling me to stop over thinking things), and Email Management (EMM). I could go and take more of the AIIM xxM courses, but what’s the point, really? What I and others would really like to see is training offerings for experienced professionals.

I’m not really certain what advanced training would look like, but I do think it ought to include topics such as leadership and innovation & transformation. I’m not thinking that it would lead to certificates like the Practitioner / Specialist / Master things; I’m thinking that it might, perhaps, be akin to a maturity model.

Those of us who have a stake and have been paying attention already know what unfolded with AIIM’s Certified Information Professional (CIP) designation at the end of last year. We also can take a fairly educated guess as to why stuff happened (1,000+ CIPs in 4+ years is not a shabby accomplishment, BTW). Fortunately, the CIP lives on and will evolve, at least to a 2.0 (though it thankfully won’t be called “CIP 2 dot oh”). Two thing I’d love to see on the CIP exam are a case study and an ethics component.

I know I’m not alone in thinking that the CIP needs to live on and continue to evolve, and that AIIM is best suited to be the custodian and nurturer of the CIP or similar designation. I also know that I’m not alone in thinking that AIIM really needs to do a better job of marketing the CIP, especially to businesses looking to hire IM Pros. Earlier this year I wrote a post about the new (sort of) CIP; it states what I’d like to see. One thing that I didn’t include in the post, because I hadn’t thought of it at the time, is that I’d like AIIM to create a CIP register. The register would serve to market those CIP’s that opt in to be listed, and it would also market the CIP itself.

Networking

One of the benefits of joining an association is that we develop a peer network. To me, a peer network is beneficial on a number of fronts. Learning, sanity checking, job/engagement hunts, resources (I’ve already brought two people I’ve met via AIIM into projects I needed hep with), and beer are all facilitated by the network I’ve developed, regardless of whether or not some of the individuals are still AIIM members. I’d love to see AIIM develop additional networking opportunities whether through the Community, via webinars, hangouts, or some other means. The specifics don’t really matter right now; it just matters that it happens and not only during the conference. I realize that chapters are supposed to fill this role, however, I have heard some of the complaints and criticisms related to AIIM HQ’s relationship with chapters. I’m not involved with any chapters, so I’m going to stop here lest I be labelled a hypocrite (or maybe I’ll pull my thumb out and get involved, dunno).

Like it or not, one of the reasons that vendors and service providers join associations and network is to develop leads. I personally don’t have an issue with this as long as it’s transparent. As a practitioner I joined AIIM to learn and to develop relationships of the non-lead variety. As a service provider I joined AIIM in order to educate and to find potential clients or employers. In the latter scenario I try not to be intrusive.

Someone opined that there is a need for two separate associations; one for the “industry (vendors, consultants, SI’s)” and another for “practitioners (end users, people in the real world)”. I get the point, but I don’t agree. As a practitioner I do actually find value in what the “industry” sometimes has to say. Besides, I don’t necessarily want to join two separate associations, with all that entails, that cover the same basics.

One thing that I do have an issue with is panels at the AIIM conference being the sole domain of sponsoring vendors. Yes, I understand they’re paying money and it’s all part of their annual marketing spend, but I think there needs to be a balance. I’m not saying that vendors should be excluded from panels, I’m saying that perhaps an additional panel or three made up of practitioners and non-sponsoring experts may be a good idea. There are a lot of really smart people that don’t work for vendors who have tons to contribute.

Thought Leadership & Evangelism

We’ve all seen AIIM events / webinars about reducing or eliminating paper from processes, how to get started with e-signatures, and how to implement ECM or SharePoint. No offense, but booooring. I’d love to see more content like this webinar about next generation Information Professionals. I’d love to see more content that is true thought leadership. I understand that there is a need for content that deals with present day, mundane issues that practitioners are dealing with, but, those same practitioners are going to need to deal with issues that are not even defined yet. AIIM, in my opinion, needs to lead conversations about transformation, disruption, and innovation.

In short, I’d love to see AIIM as a think tank and futurist. I want AIIM to not necessarily be right about what’s going to happen, but to make me think about what’s going to happen. Yes, I know that the Executive Leadership Council is partially responsible for this, but check it out and tell me whose perspective we’re getting for the most part (yes, I’m bitter and jaded). I’m not saying get rid of the ELC or kill the fees; give those who have something to contribute regardless of their position, affiliation, or budget a voice and a forum.

Odds & Ends

Webinar transcripts that we can download with the slides and recording would be great. Sometimes we just don’t want to listen and would rather read. These would be especially useful for when you need to revisit a point several times. This wasn’t my idea, but I really like it.

All those surveys and research reports – let us download the raw data and do our own stuff with it. Gotta thank Laurence Hart for this one.

Remember the old community and “expert blogger” program? It’d be nice to have something like that again. It was good knowing that when I contributed a post to the AIIM blog someone was going to publicise it and include it in the newsletter.

Bring back TweetJams.

Thank You

I used to be an ARMA (International and Canada) member, but the value proposition for me has vanished. Consequently, I’m no longer a member. The Information Coalition is a new professional organization that says they’re not an association. Since I know some of the folks that set it up, and I trust their motives, I’ve signed up for a free membership. I’ll give it some time and buy a membership if I find that I’ll get value out of it, but it’s too early to tell.

As far as AIIM is concerned, as long as I continue to get value I’ll support them by renewing my membership, attending the conference, posting on the Community blog, and generally engaging as appropriate.

I was thinking about posting this either immediately prior to or immediately after the AIIM conference, but I decided to post it while the search for John Mancini’s replacement as CEO is underway. I’m hoping that this will give AIIM and potential candidates something to think about.

To all of you at AIIM, doing what you do, thank you.

#5Thoughts – CIP Nouveau


duck-416972_1280Prompted by the twin posts (do some scrolling and read in chronological order) from Jesse “Mr. CIP” Wilkins and the near death of the CIP, I figured I’d lay out a few thoughts … and here’s my post from when I learned of the death of the CIP (a week before its revival).

  1. I was really pleased with the reaction of folks that hold or intend to hold the credential. Almost as pleased as I was with AIIM’s about-face regarding its death. A passionate, engaged group of stakeholders coupled with an association that listens is a pretty good thing, I think.
  2. Testing for the CIP needs to be supplemented. The current multiple choice / fill in the blank stuff is okay, but I would really like to see it supplemented with at least one case study type question. A properly crafted case study is a better test of being able to pull the knowledge elements together in a meaningful way. The current test, IMO, can be passed simply by preparing enough and being able to memorize and regurgitate. Yes, I appreciate that this would require a lot more effort and expense to create and then mark. In my head I’m thinking that elements from, and the approach of, the Uniform Evaluation for (formerly) Canadian accountancy students has some merit.
  3. 1,000+ CIPs in just over four years is a pretty good accomplishment.
  4. I don’t know how, but the CIP needs to be better marketed to those outside the AIIM community. Are educational institutions a potential avenue to explore, if not already exploring? I dunno. I will, however, jump in and help out if I can. Over the past year or two I’ve noticed (imagined?) a decline in the promotion of the CIP from AIIM. It doesn’t take a genius to figure out that this was a factor in the plug pulling.
  5. If the CIP is going to thrive going forward, it’s going to need a concerted effort from AIIM, CIP holders / candidates, and CIP beneficiaries (orgs that use information – all of them!). If the primary short-term focus is on generating revenue via the CIP rather than growing the CIP and its acceptance / importance, the CIP is likely doomed (again, sort of). I do appreciate the rock and hard place this places AIIM in the middle of. If the CIP is to realize its potential we’re all going to have to pitch in and get creative about how that’s going to happen. As far as I’m concerned I think it’s something worth pushing forward with.

PHIGs take Phlyte – AIIM Conference Preview


Eat Your PHIGs

As some of you may already know, I will be speaking about the Principles of Holistic Information Governance at the AIIM Conference in Orlando (my session is at 2pm on April 3). Here’s a brief preview of what I’ll be talking about.

This is a little story about how the Principles of Holistic Information Governance (the PHIGs) were leveraged to turn a pure Records Management project into something the entire organization, and its stakeholders, could benefit from.

I was approached by a partner to help them out on a project they are working on for a public transportation company. Their project is to put together a new web communication and presence strategy, and to implement it. Where they asked me to help out is on developing a Records Management strategy. The two projects were to be separate from each other since the RM project was really to fill in some gaps in the client being compliant with legislation and in helping them to respond to Freedom of Information (FOI) requests. There was no thought given to integrating the two projects or to looking at how an holistic approach could benefit the entire organization and its stakeholders.

As all good analysts and consultants do, I started gathering as much information about the organization and the projects as I could. The two critical documents that I had access to were the Web Communication project strategy (summary and detailed) and the organization’s 20 year strategic plan and roadmap.

There were obvious tie-ins to linking the RM project and the Web project, but selling them to the organization wasn’t easy as they just didn’t care all that much. They were happy to go forward with identifying what was a record, and subject to FOI, then just firing that content into their RM tool (which they don’t have yet). The real clincher to getting the organization to accept a PHIGged approach was the long term strategic plan. In the plan were articulated six values and five major objectives.

Values

  1. Safety
  2. Customer Service
  3. Sustainability
  4. Integrity
  5. Innovation
  6. Collaboration

All six of the values can be directly supported by information, provided it’s properly governed and managed, from cradle to grave.

Major Objectives

  1. Develop Financial Sustainability
  2. Support and Shape Livable Communities
  3. Change the Perception of Transit
  4. Deliver Operational Excellence
  5. Strengthen our People and Partnerships

Like the values, the objectives will benefit from taking an holistic view of how information lives in the organization.

One of the other things that I did was to review the RM strategy document I was provided and link those objectives to the objectives in the Web Communication strategy and the long term strategy.   It’s both funny and sad that folks get so focused on their own view of the world that they don’t see the bigger picture. The RM strategy probably had 85% of what was needed for an organization wide (I’m trying not to use the word “enterprise” too much) information management strategy.

From a technology point of view there will be many different tools used to provide the solutions that the organization will, over time, implement. But, they’ll be underpinned by the PHIGs. The PHIGs are there to help organizations take a look at how and why information exists and affects all relevant stakeholders.  The PHIGs aren’t about technology; they’re about business and doing it better by understanding what you need from information.

By reordering and rewording some of the RM strategy objectives, and adding a couple of new ones, we were able to change the focus from an RM project that would provide very limited benefits, to an organization-wide information management program that will benefit all stakeholders. Of course it’ll take longer to get to the end, but at least the client has taken the first step and realized the importance of information to the proper running of the business.

Below is the presentation from my session at the AIIM 2014 conference …

Block Porn? Don’t Bother


After reading about Conservative MP Joy Smith’s pornography filter idea on the CTV News site, I decided to respond to her and David Cameron (he’s the British PM, you know). You can read about Smith’s plan here. You should also watch the video and read the comments; very entertaining.

Dear Joy and David

I think it’s great that you’re trying to protect the children, but back off, will you? It’s not your job; it’s my job as a parent.

I don’t have any problem with using legislation to keep illegal content off of the internet. I do, however, have a huge issue with government trying to keep objectionable content off the internet. You see, only I can determine for myself and my children what is objectionable. You can’t, my neighbours can’t, my community can’t, … only I can make that determination. You are heading into territory that smacks of censorship. You are advocating that government make moral decisions for citizens. You have no mandate nor right to do this.

Personally, I have no objection to pornography, as long as it depicts one or more consenting adults. I do object to any content that depicts or promotes racism, intolerance, Brussels sprouts, animal abuse, child abuse, elder abuse,  Michael Jackson, Justin Bieber, spousal abuse, honour killings, violence against women, anti-gay sentiment, anti-pro-choice sentiment, … there’s a long list of things that I find objectionable. However, as long as it’s not illegal, leave it out there and let those of us with a couple of functioning brain cells decide for ourselves whether or not to check it out.

You mention that you’re proposing this to protect the children from pornography (among other things). Are you really certain that it will work? One of the issues is that parents aren’t actively filtering what their children can see when connected to the internet. What makes you think that applying a filter, which can be turned off, will change this? If Mummy or Daddy want to see naughty-naughty on the computer, they will turn the filter off and chances are that any kids using the computer will be able to view naughty-naughty because Mummy and Daddy haven’t set up the appropriate controls at the DEVICE and USER levels.

If Mummy and Daddy were smart or pro-active enough to set up the controls in the first place, the filter you propose would not be necessary. If they’re not smart or pro-active enough, the filter you propose won’t be effective because they’ll turn it off to view naughty-naughty and never control things at the user and device level.

Parents need to be more actively involved in what their children are doing online and offline. I have three children, two of whom are old enough to be computer users. I have taken the time to set up parental controls for each of them, and to monitor what they are doing online. This doesn’t mean that nothing gets by what I’ve put in place; it means that I am aware of anything getting by and I can adjust settings when I have to. It means that I actually talk to my children about their online activity. It means that I educate myself and my children about spending time online. It means that if my children come across something that disturbs or confuses them, whether or not it’s sexual, we discuss it as a family. It means that my wife and I take the time to have frank, age appropriate discussions about love and sexuality with our children. It also means that my children have more to their lives than just the internet.

Active, informed parental involvement, coupled with managing internet security settings (it’s not that hard and there are plenty of free resources and tools) will do far more to protect children from seeing porn on the internet than instituting a nanny state filter could ever hope to.

Joy and David, thanks for trying, but spend taxpayer money where it makes more sense. Education, healthcare, anti-poverty measures … these and many more initiatives can use all the money they can get. I’m fully supportive of doing whatever can be done to rid the internet of illegal content and bringing the purveyors to justice; but when it comes to censoring content that is legal, stay out of my house and off my internet.

Cheers!

Chris Walker

Involved Parent & Internet User

Teach Your Children (tks 2 CSN&Y)


Last week on the AIIM E2.0 Community site I posted something about this CTV News article concerning a couple of high school students and Facebook.  I suggested in my post that before we can punish transgressions we need to educate.  As I’m writing this I am also thinking about other events, some tragic, that perhaps could have been prevented had we simply taught our children how to behave online.

It’s hard enough growing up today and trying to learn all the rules of society.  Our roles as parents, educators, aunts, uncles, and responsible adults of all stripes is to help educate the kids as to what is and what isn’t acceptable and safe.  This includes online activity.  We monitor the stuff our kids get up to online, but do we actually teach them? I think that it’s about time that we started to.

Teaching our kids about their online presence needs to involve the school system as well as the kids’ families. Our school systems (at least the one my kids attend) get involved in teaching our kids about sex, drugs, driving, alcohol, and religion; why not about how to behave online? Think about this for a minute: as experienced adults who work online everyday even we don’t always know what we’re supposed to do (obviously I am generalizing). How often do we complain(?) about the amount of email we receive or the number of times we need to check our Linkfacetwitwikispacebookblog? How often do we read about adults, who ought to know better, getting victimized online in one form or another?

I’m just guessing that we take for granted that the kids will just grow up knowing what to do with technology because it’s been around them since day one.  That’s just silly; I’ve had cars around me since the day I was born, but that doesn’t mean that I knew how to drive without someone actually teaching me (to tell the truth, I run into people every day who I suspect don’t know how to drive even though they are behind the wheel of a car).

Is it possible to engage with the school systems to provide some sort of education to the students on how to conduct themselves online? I think it is.

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