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.

A Whole New World, Again

Chris Pine as Captain KirkWhile the industry was aflutter talking about the fall and rise of the CIP certification, I was planning my next big thing. My next big thing has happened and I am now a director at IBC, a DBS Company.

What does that mean? Well it means that I’ve joined a team of people that focus on solving problems, regardless of scale. One observation from a client regarding IBC was that they solve problems that need solving. That fits nicely with my goal to make things work.

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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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Dell, EMC, and Poor Documentum

Even with our fights, I never wanted it to come to thisI haven’t blogged in a while for various reasons that I won’t get into in this post but recent news demands that I share some thoughts. It seems that barring a better offer, Dell is going to buy EMC for a LOT of money.

Now the numbers don’t really matter to me as I don’t hold stock in any of the players except perhaps in some retirement mutual fund to which I never really pay attention. What I care about is the fate of the Enterprise Content Division (ECD), the home of Documentum.

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Box Makes a Huge Leap in Security

The Keymaster and Gatekeeper from GhostbustersI saw the Box’s announcement of their Enterprise Key Management (EKM) feature yesterday. This is a big jump forward for Box and puts them well in the front lines for cloud security among vendors with traction. Matt Weinberger had a good write-up about how Box’s EKM works complete with a Ghostbuster reference.

Chris Walker wrote about Box’s EKM announcement and quoted a tweet I made. The tweet follows but I encourage you to go read his post as it is a good one.

I wanted to expand on the quote up above in a comment on Chris’s post then I couldn’t stop typing. I decided to write it here.

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Sony, Information Governance, and the Quest for Relevancy

Movie: The InterviewPeople have been writing for months about what could have prevented or lessened the impact the Sony hack. I’ve talked to many people in the information governance industry on this very topic. I’m a firm believer that even with proper information governance policies that were properly followed, the impact of the Sony hacks would be the same.

Of course, not everyone agrees. Lubor Ptacek asked if enterprise content management (ECM) could have prevented the hack. While his answer was not a definitive ‘Yes’, it did fall strongly on the side that it would have made a significant difference.

Lubor is a smart person so I’ve decided to visit his points in this post.  Before I start going point-by-point…

You Can’t Govern Stupid

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