[EDIT: 1 week after killing it, AIIM restored the CIP after the community’s feelings about the CIP became known. Read my initial thoughts.]
For 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.
The Market for the CIP
I joined AIIM as their CIO right after the CIP was released. I had been a director of technology solutions for a Federal consulting firm and had seen the need for a certification for information professionals. A PMP certification had gone from an advantage to a minimum requirement for project managers over the years as a way to reduce project risk.
Given the uncertainty of success for many information management projects, I saw the CIP as having that same potential as the PMP. It also was a way for me to continue to measure myself as I continued my move away from pure Enterprise Content Management (ECM)
I took the exam, pondered what the CIP exam was measuring, and determined that the CIP had a future. While it wouldn’t be a profit center for AIIM for several years, it was what the industry needed and eventually it could be a reliable revenue generator.
For this to happen, the CIP needed to be marketed inside and outside the profession. Champions had to be developed and encouraged. Lastly, patience was required. The PMP took 9 years to hit 1,000 practitioners and while the Internet may be an accelerator, change still takes time.
After an intense first 6-9 months, the CIP push from AIIM died down. After a year the CIP seemed to be relegated to the back burner. In spite of that, this past August the AIIM granted its 1,000th CIP.
And now it all means nothing.
Why Does AIIM Exist?
Very little has pained me more that watching AIIM struggle the past several years. The industry needs a strong association to step up and make a difference. The creation of InfoGovCon and the Information Governance Initiative (IGI) shows that there is a need for something to be done.
AIIM offers good training but it has little value to experienced members of the industry. The conference is solid and is the best part of AIIM for the experienced practitioner. It helps build a broader sense of community outside of the local community.
In today’s world of social media and meet-ups, why does the industry need AIIM? The first answer goes back to the conference. We need good events that go beyond local. We need a group advocating for our profession in ways that the individual cannot. We also need a way to show the world that we are a profession.
The certification was a good first step to prove it.
I understand that while AIIM is a non-profit they still have to pay their bills. However, if AIIM can’t find a way to give the industry what we need, then does it matter if they stay afloat? Do we, as an industry, care if AIIM exists if they cannot execute on their mission?
AIIM is graciously bestowing the Enterprise Content Management (ECM) Master (ECMM) designation upon me. So instead of having a certification that covered the breadth of knowledge that an information professional needs to know, I am being given a more pigeon-holed designation that means I have completed coursework that would have benefited my career 15 years ago.
Not putting that on my LinkedIn profile.
I don’t know what to do next. We still need a certification in the industry but now we have to start over. We need an organization that can take it on and understand that it has to be be broad-based and not focused on information governance, ECM, records management, or technology.
I still plan to attend the AIIM Conference in April. I was hoping to speak there but I suspect that after writing this that won’t happen. It is a good conference, worth attending regardless.
And the only remaining benefit AIIM offers the experienced information professional.
13 thoughts on “The CIP, A Lost Opportunity”
The thing that irritates me is that I never maintained the CIP. I took it as an experiment and as a way to compare the CRM and CIP. See: http://cunninghamabovetherim.blogspot.com/2011/10/atr-crm-versus-information.html I never intended to maintain certification formally, and frankly, AIIM never communicated with me in a meaningful way after I passed the exam, very early in the process. Yet, AIIM is willing to grant me “Master” status. I have some cynical thoughts about that, but I’ll hold them.
Rest assured that your more cynical thoughts are likely shared by many.
Laurence, I appreciated the thoughts in your blog and those of Patrick (which I read before sitting for the CIP) and others here. Had I known that AIIM was going to pull the CIP after a short period of time, I would not have invested in it. I agree with your thoughts here about the ECMm/CIP relationship and AIIM in general and I received emails this morning from former board members in Phoenix reminding me that this was a perfect example of why the Phoenix Board sadly voted to dissolve its AIIM chapter because of the lack of meaningful communication and marketing behind things they wanted chapters to promote such as the CIP in 2012 and conference, etc. Definitely disappointed.
As someone who aspired to the CIP and was looking at the videos just the other day with a view to attempting certification in 2016, I agree that the ECM(M) is in no way equal to this – I am also disappointed as I feel I needed something outside the traditional ECM sphere as mentioned above. Oh well!
“AIIM offers good training but it has little value to experienced members of the industry.” 10 years ago maybe. “The conference is solid and is the best part of AIIM for the experienced practitioner. It helps build a broader sense of community outside of the local community.” I’d debate ‘experienced practitioner.’ I’d luv to give a “Taxonomy 4000,” with the down in the weeds stuff, but I always get shot down on it.
“In today’s world of social media and meet-ups, why does the industry need AIIM?” It doesn’t. [snip]
“I understand that while AIIM is a non-profit they still have to pay their bills. However, if AIIM can’t find a way to give the industry what we need, then does it matter if they stay afloat? Do we, as an industry, care if AIIM exists if they cannot execute on their mission?” In a word, ‘no.’
I’m an AIIM Board Member, and while I understand the concern around the CIP, John’s post summarizes nicely why we had to do what we did – http://info.aiim.org/digital-landfill/some-thoughts-on-the-aiim-cip-program – believe me, we debated many alternatives and this was not a decision that was made lightly. Beyond just what John wrote, I’ll add that unfortunately in today’s world, there are certifications for everything, and while I am not saying this about the CIP specifically, anyone that thinks a certification (from AIIM or anyone else) guarantees that you’re getting a good person, or that a lack of a certification means someone is not as good, is completely wrong. Many of the best people in this industry have no CIP; and while the vast majority of CIPs that I know have been awesome, it wasn’t the CIP that made them so…and unfortunately, there are a few CIPs that, frankly, I’d never hire. Same goes with PMP, MCSE, and all the others. So, considering that, along with all the points John makes, respectfully, I’d like to offer that we tried, spent years trying in fact, and it was time to move on. The alternative was to continue throwing good money after bad, and in a small organization trying to simplify and be as effective as it can be, in an industry that is both at the same time a niche and being subsumed into others (cloud, mobile, analytics, social, etc.), that wasn’t a very good alternative.
Thank you for your response. I saw John’s post which went up after mine. I am crafting a reply that at this point will likely be up Monday. I would like to argue that AIIM did not “try” with the CIP after the first 6-9 months. I was there well into the 2nd year of the CIP and when there was no rapid growth, focus turned elsewhere. Happy to discuss in more detail offline.
Hi Laurence, maybe we can chat more at AIIM 2016 in New Orleans…am glad to see that you amended this post with the update that the board made in response to the commentary from the community at large ( http://info.aiim.org/digital-landfill/cip-redux ). It may be a matter of interpretation as far as how hard AIIM “tried” on CIP, but then, as now, with a small number of staff, there’s only so much pushing that can happen, period (then or now). We’ll see how the reversal plays out, but if the community really cares about the CIP, the whole community, not just AIIM, need to push it 🙂
Gladly. I hope to be there. Waiting to see if my talk was approved. If not I have to hit the budget approval process. 🙂
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