It has been a long couple of years. Everything has moved online and maintaining the sense of community in the Information Governance (InfoGov) industry has been a challenge. That is not even taking into account the continued changes our association space that we’ve been seeing.
To be honest, I miss seeing my industry colleagues and friends. Sure, I’ve seen several of them over Zoom, both with and without beverages, but the complete lounging that takes place as conversations meander between the professional, personal, and everything in-between is very much missed. As we move into 2022, InfoGov.Net is trying to meet some of those needs. Given that our needs are so diverse, I wonder what the future holds.
AIIM, ARMA, and The Passing of An Era
Back in 2018, ARMA and the Information Coalition merged. At the time, there was a lot of hope about what the combined organizations could do together. ARMA’s CEO had energy and bringing over Nick Inglis’s energy seemed like a win-win for everyone. Then they followed that up by adding Ann Snyder who did excellent work for the Information Governance Initiative (IGI). The potential was tangible.
Today, none of them remain. The ARMA of today seems a lot like the ARMA of four years ago, but with less understanding of the challenges ahead. Chapters are still their strongest component. However, COVID has been taking its toll on them.
AIIM isn’t doing much better. Their chapter count continues to drop from lack of support from headquarters as older members, who kept things going, slowly drop away. They’ve recently moved to away from “membership” and launched AIIM+, a subscription model for services. Time will tell what that really means. However, with the departure of Jesse Wilkins last year, AIIM’s focus on training for revenue appears at risk. [Note: Shortly after publishing this post, AIIM’s President, Peggy Winton, announced her departure.]
If there was one thing you can count on, it was that Nick Inglis wouldn’t just sit on the sidelines. Sure enough, he’s launched InfoGov.Net. While it is still working to gain its footing, it has placed a stake in the ground around lobbying.
This is definitely something that has been missing for a long time in the industry. When talking about content and records issues nationally, there are no voices. It is definitely a void that needs to be filled.
However, for the average information professional, that isn’t a huge help. We need to learn from each over. We are still working together as an industry to figure out the best way to address these issues. I know many who are doing some innovative things in the space, but getting an opportunity to hear those stories is a challenge.
And if I am having a hard time hearing those stories with my industry connections, I can only imagine how isolated the average information professional feels.
Information Governance Day 2022
One thing InfoGov.net is doing for the everyday person is hosting a one-day event on Information Governance Day 2022. A free event, they are pulling together groups of panelists to discuss what is happening in the industry today. It is meant to recreate some of the hallway conversations that take place in the conferences we are not attending.
I’m on a panel with Donda Young and Steve Weissman, two good friends who happen to be pretty smart and know Information Governance well. We’ll be talking about the past and future of information governance. While we’ve planned some specific topics to hit, it is going to be a free-flowing conversation. I cannot promise anything other than we will be challenged to keep everything to only 45 minutes.
There are several other good sessions, including a keynote from Ann Snyder. I highly recommend taking time and attending some of the sessions. It’ll be a chance to hear some of the latest happening in the space by eavesdropping on conversations similar to those that take place after a particularly good conference session.
What happens after that? AIIM and ARMA both have annual conferences this year. It will be interesting to see how they go. Costs to participants seem to be increasing, which is curious as the value of a virtual event is less. However, we need something as a community. We just need to cross-breed the virtual with the in-person.
I wish I knew the answer. I miss my industry colleagues. Both those that I count as friends and those that I haven’t met yet. I am hoping that 2022 is a year of starting to rebuild the community that has gone missing. Rebuilding it will take some work and fresh ideas. Hopefully, we can find people with one or the other and pull them together.