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.

2 thoughts on “Moving AIIM’s Certified Information Professional Forward

  1. very interesting. the CEUs etc are what the Certified Records Managers exam has required since the 1990s. work experience has always been a requisite to sit for the exams. as for ARMA”s IGP I suggest that you take another look and you’ll see that the emphasis on records management is decidely less. It is my understanding that ARMA regularly reviews and updates their databank.
    http://www.icrm.org
    http://www.arma.org/igp-resources

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