Focusing on the Local by Joining the NCC-AIIM Executive Committee

Hanging out at AIIM Nats night w/ (left to right) Mark Mandel, AIIM Vice-Chair Mark Patrick, and dedicated AIIM staffer Theresa ResekI’ve talked a little bit here about the need to improve the local communities for information management. It is an area that ARMA does better than other groups in the industry but their focus and members can be intimidating for those who aren’t records managers. AIIM chapters are a decent alternative but there are a lot of challenges.

For the past couple of years, I’ve been chatting offline with some chapter leaders from both associations, brainstorming ideas, and trying to think of ways to improve the local community. Some of these discussions became more focused when Kevin Parker became the president of the local AIIM chapter, NCC-AIIM. During one of these discussions I agreed to join the chapter’s executive committee.

Why Community Matters

We are in a different world from when industry associations initially formed. The Internet makes the exchange of ideas easy. Anyone can publish an article and have it peer-reviewed in the comments and on Twitter.

What the Internet hasn’t mastered is the creation of mentoring relationships, deep conversations, and those long conversations where people give undivided attention. Conferences like InfoGovCon and AIIM provide that to some degree but their cost, infrequency, and need to miss work make them impractical for a steady stream of interaction.

That is where the local community comes into play. Depending on the industry, there is usually a monthly or even weekly cadence of meetings. While few people attend them all, over the course of a few months you run into a wide variety of people, exchange ideas, and build a true sense of community that is moving forward together.

What I Hope to Bring

I’ve been participating and volunteering in a few local communities for almost 10 years in the DC area. Most are around the web with a more recent focus on User Experience (UX) and Design Thinking. I currently run the social media for OpenIDEODC which let’s me learn more about the challenges of running a successful community and connecting with like-minded organizations.

I hope to bring this experience in a more official capacity to NCC-AIIM. I’ve now been in my current role as a Director at Dominion Consulting for a year and feel that I can start to consistently make time for a real role. I am not sure I can commit to being an officer, helping to lead and advise seems like the right commitment level for me at the moment.

My hope is that working with Kevin and the rest of the executive committee, we can try and evolve the chapter into a more dynamic, 21st century, organization that can appeal to a broader swath of participants. Governance and information are hot topics in DC and there is no reason we can’t create an attractive program, expand our reach, and team with other groups to create an energized chapter.

Time Will Tell

Of course, our efforts may fall short of those lofty goals. We may exceed them. We will never know until we try. There is a need for people to connect. We need to reach out and find a way to create a thriving organization whose biggest struggle is finding a large enough space to meet.

We aren’t there yet. It is summer and the time for planning. I’m excited to help and to put my time and money where my mouth had been for some time. I’ll share the lessons, good and bad, and seek advice. I know I don’t have all the answers. I do have ideas to try and a determination to try and make a difference.

Time to see if that’s enough.

Too Many Associations

A Pie from "Too Many Cooks" spoofWe are currently dealing with a glut of associations in the information industry. In the past couple of years with the addition of:

When you take into account the long history of AIIM and ARMA in this industry, it is clear that the community at-large feels it has needs not currently being met by the existing associations. CM Pros failed after failing to determine what value they could offer, at what cost, and how they could be distinct from AIIM and ARMA.

What does the entry of these new players mean?

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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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ARMA Calls for a Revolution

I’ve been talking for a while about how we need to mix things up in the space. Records Management as we know it is dead and it has dragged Enterprise Content Management (ECM) down with it. We need to completely change things to get back on track.

While I was attending the ARMA conference, ARMA’s president, Julie Colgan, said that Records Management needed to evolve. I said that it wasn’t enough. Records Managers need to revolt against the system and change things. Julie saw the comment on twitter and promised a response.

Well, today Julie gave a response.

I also believe that RIM needs a revolution, but in order to get there, we first need the professionals in the space to be ready to revolt.

Let’s face it. As much as Records Management, and ECM as a whole, has failed, the needs for proper Information Governance has not changed. Organizations still have the same requirements.

We need to work WITH the Records Management professionals. We need to work together to find a way to meet the requirements of the organization while addressing the central failure point, which is that existing solutions make every employee a Records Manager.

They don’t want to be Records Managers.

I personally welcome ARMA to the battle. The members of ARMA have knowledge that we need. They also have ideas. I saw many speakers at the conference calling for a new approach. We need to learn how to relieve people from the burden of managing records to allow them to focus upon their jobs.

Shall we start a revolution together?

[Note: For a webinar discussion inspired by this post, head over here.]

Making Records Management Simple at ARMA

Next week I will be at the ARMA Conference in Vegas. While I will be there in support of Alfresco, I have a secondary purpose. I want to brainstorm with attendees on how we can make Records Management (RM) simple.

The reason is straightforward. Adoption of RM systems by end-users is horrible. We have spent most of the past two decades forcing non-Records Managers to act and think as Records Managers. It is a failed approach. We need to work on creative ways to shift from a world where success is the exception to where success is the rule.

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