Moving AIIM’s Certified Information Professional Forward

New York CityIn December, the industry was faced with the prospect of a long needed certification being removed from the market. After the community protested that we need the CIP, AIIM backed off from closing the CIP and committed to updating it to reflect the changes in the industry since the CIP’s inception.

So far so good.

Now we the industry need to help AIIM make the CIP better. Chris Walker had some thoughts on ways to make the CIP more successful. Jesse Wilkins who runs the CIP program for AIIM made some requests from the industry on how we can support the CIP.

Now after having existing CIPs review an updated exam outline, AIIM is asking the industry to review the outline by this Friday, February 12.

Overall CIP Thoughts

The CIP as originally conceived was pretty good but it was clear that it was going to take some work for it to become universally accepted. As AIIM moves forward, I have some suggestions for how to give the CIP more weight in the market.

  • Make CEU’s a Prerequisite: Right now, continuing education credits (CEUs) are needed to renew your CIP after three years without taking the exam. Making some level of education beforehand would help demonstrate that passing the exam wasn’t just a process of cramming for the exam.
  • Add Work Experience: Having needed work experience before taking the exam would also help give the CIP some weight. Perhaps have a sliding scale balancing education and work experience. Generally I would think three years in information management, with education mixed into the equation, would be an absolute minimum. That isn’t total experience either, just in the space.
  • Market CEU’s: The more people see CEU’s for the CIP everywhere, the more exposure it gives the certification in the industry. Knowing that they would get X number of CEU’s for attending the AIIM Conference, InfoGovCon, or a vendor conference would really help keep the CIP in the front of people’s minds. Put the numbers out there. Get the conferences to mention it on their website. It not only serves as marketing but it helps people realize that they are already working towards the certification with their current activities.
  • Court Consultants: This is how you spread the word. Find consulting organizations that will use the fact that their consultants are CIPs as a differentiating factor. Their clients and prospects will look into the certification. Their competition will hear about it. This is how the PMP became so prominent. This is how you shift into a more viral type of growth.

I understand the logic in keeping the bar low to new CIP’s by keeping the initial requirements at a level that isn’t intimidating. Now may not be the time to increase that bar but that needs to be part of the conversation. As existing CIPs renewed their certification, if they had not already shown sufficient experience, they would be asked to do so upon their renewal.

My Initial Review

As a current CIP, I had an early view of the new CIP outline. The original CIP exam was broad and covered many topics that AIIM did not offer training for at the CIPs inception. In many ways the CIP was aspirational. It covered was a true information professional should know. It was wonderful.

The revision that I first reviewed took a step back. It primarily only covered topics that AIIM covers in their training classes. I will admit that I was glad that telecommuting had been removed from the list of topics but other changes were less welcome. Removed are the concepts of managing structured data. The idea of a system of record is vital to the content world and to the data world. Many of the concepts are very similar between the two worlds and a CIP has to straddle both worlds.

As I look at the latest version of the outline, I see that the gaps are still present. My primary comment is that AIIM may get stuck in the same trap into which ARMA fell. When ARMA built their Information Governance Professional certification, it had a very heavy records management focus. That makes it hard for ARMA to reach beyond their existing core membership and limits the growth of the program.

AIIM is in danger of following the same path of having a certification that doesn’t match its more aspirational name. They seem to be building an enterprise content management (ECM) certification with an information label.

I don’t really want to hire any CECMPs. I want to hire CIPs.

Find the Value

The truly valuable people in this industry are those that can work across information silos and help take a world that has been wrapped in the comfort of analog and move them into the digital world. CIPs need to be able to look beyond their immediate responsibilities and see how information needs to flow through the organization.

When hiring, I need people that understand information so that we can not only digitally transform organizations, we can do it in a manner that sets things up for success.

Hobbes chasing his tailIf AIIM’s concern is that they don’t offer training in those areas, they should create short courses.  They could offer the courses online either as a stand-alone course or as a benefit of being a Professional Member. Alternatively they could partner with organizations that already have courses developed.

AIIM can set themselves up as an association that is defining the future landscape of the information professional or they can fortify their existing domain and leave a large need unmet.

AIIM’s keynote speaker lineup speaks of going big but their new CIP scope seems to speak to entrenching.

Let’s tell them what we need. Review the CIP exam outline and tell them what is missing. Maybe we will be lucky and AIIM will listen to us again.

AIIM Awoke the Sleeping Community and Listened

Paul Atreides from DuneLast week I shared my opinions on AIIM cancelling the CIP certification program. Similar opinions were shared in many blogs (Mark Owen compiled a nice list), tweets, LinkedIn, and many other channels. I don’t want to dwell on the specifics of those posts because an important thing happened shortly afterwards. Just seven days after AIIM announced the end of the CIP, AIIM reversed course and recommitted to the CIP with the promise of an update at the 2016 AIIM conference.

That’s right. The CIP IS BACK and it is because of the community.

That doesn’t mean that all is right in the universe. If anything, this chaos reveals to us that there are real problems out there. Luckily we also learned that there are passionate people in the community who can be roused to action when they feel they can make a difference.

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The CIP, A Lost Opportunity

[EDIT: 1 week after killing it, AIIM restored the CIP after the community’s feelings about the CIP became known. Read my initial thoughts.]

Sadness from Inside Out CryingFor those that may not have heard, AIIM is killing off the Certified Information Professional (CIP) certification.

We’d like to share an exciting development with you.

To categorize the news as disappointing is a massive understatement. AIIM dumping the news on a Friday afternoon shows that AIIM knew that this would not be well received. In many ways I feel that AIIM has turned its back on the industry with this action. I am just a bit angry at that development.

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Information Governance Repeating the Same Mistakes

One thing I’ve been doing a lot of recently is observing the rise of Information Governance. It is eating all the bandwidth that Enterprise Content Management (ECM), Information Management, and Records Management have historically consumed. All the same players are involved; each trying to make a name for themselves.

As I participated in today’s #InfoChat, I quickly realized that the exact same chat could have taken place 10 years ago. Just substitute #ECM for #InfoGov and it would fit. There were no “new” ideas presented, just slight twists on the same concepts that have been pushed for the last 20 years.

We get it. Success requires “People, Process, and Technology.” How about telling us how those factors should behave and work together? What new technology might help smooth processes to make people’s live easier?


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Professional Associations Need to Go Local

Triceratop SkeletonThere are a lot of different professional associations out there seeking to provide value to their members. Some do so by helping to lobby for regulations and laws that will benefit their membership. Others provide certifications or have peer-reviewed academic journals that serve as gateways to the industry.

Then there are professional associations like AIIM, ARMA, and ASAE whose primary purpose is helping industry professionals be effective through education. This education takes place in the form of training, publications, seminars, and webinars. There may be a certification but it is rarely required for advancement in the industry.

The problem is that there is fresh competition from for-profit communities and ad-hoc local groups who use Meetup to find members and organize. Information on how to succeed in any industry is readily available on the Internet. Traditional associations are no longer the sole-source for networking and information.

How can associations compete when people no longer need a middle-man? They have to go local and make things personal.

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2001: An Enterprise Odyssey

The Discovery from 2001When I was at the AIIM Conference this year, Thornton May, gave a frenetic keynote address. While I am never quite sure what the key point Thornton is trying to make during his talks, he always makes everyone in the audience think, which is a very good thing.

During his keynote this year, Thornton used the following exercise to get the audience thinking about the future.

Choose movie, show, or work of literature which comes closest to capturing the essence of the external environment facing your enterprise today.

There were a lot of answers, some good, some mired in the past, but it was a very thought provoking discussion. My choice, if you haven’t figured it out by now, was 2001: A Space Odyssey.

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An AIIM Keynote at a Kodak Alaris Conference

Today I ended up at the Kodak Alaris Global Directions 2013 Conference here in Washington, DC. It is good to see that Kodak’s implosion didn’t kill their imaging business. In addition to talking to people how Alfresco can add value to their Kodak deployment, I got to listen to John Mancini give the day two keynote, Intelligent Information Management – Transforming the Customer Experience.

I must say, it was a new experience watching John talk after having been his Chief Information Officer (CIO). Thankfully he has evolved his talk. When I first started at AIIM, his theme was that CIO’s didn’t “get it”. Now it focuses on the pressure that CIOs are under.

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