Ding Dong the CIP

ciplogo-120x32Yes, yes, the CIP is dead. Gone, removed by AIIM International. I am was will still say that I’m a CIP, but I won’t hang it off the end of my name.

Oh wait, I never did do that.

Truth be told, I sat for the CIP exam because, as a then new Board member of AIIM International, I wanted to show support for the certification.

The CIP is the only certification exam I ever sat for. I am not a fan of certifications. I’ve worked with people who have them (mostly Microsoft certs) and I’ve worked with people who don’t have them. People are people and the certification never guaranteed success. As for my personal experience, I am way more proud of my ECMm – and yes, I know it’s technically not a certification, I don’t care.

I acquired my ECMm as a result of a four-day-in-person class taught by Bob Larrivee, now AIIM’s Vice President of Market Intelligence, and it was among the best educational experiences of my career. At that time, I was new to Content Management and I was new to AIIM and SharePoint was new to the world. OK, SharePoint had been around for a while, but it was awful. A reasonably good SharePoint was new to the world, and it was my job to build it out correctly. During that time (2006-2009), ECM and SharePoint were pretty much my fulltime job. If I had been hiring professionals to help me, I would have placed some value on a CIP. I would have placed more value on an ECMm and / or an ERMm, by the way, I have both, because getting them taught me all the (non-infrastructure) things you should consider before building out SharePoint as a document management solution.

These days, where I work, SharePoint isn’t anybody’s fulltime job. People venture in and out of SharePoint much like they take the elevator from the lobby to the third floor. Like the elevator, they are looking for a reliable solution in self-service form. My department’s job today is to make sure the elevators work (infrastructure) and to make sure people know where to get on and off and which way to go. We spend most of our time guiding people in the right direction. We still build solutions, but we build them in support of a larger, and largely well-understood mission.

Content today might reside in SharePoint, but it’s created and consumed elsewhere. One of our most recently deployed solutions is one that exists across a SharePoint on-premises farm, a SharePoint On-line installation and a series of iPad Apps. Some of the users of this “system” create and consume information, primarily on their iPad. In some cases, the realization that what they are using is, in fact, a SharePoint solution, is lost on them. They don’t care and I don’t care. What I care about is the fact that they have the information that they need, when they need it and that they can rely on the fact that it’s the right information.

The information is managed behind the scenes by metadata and SharePoint workflows, but that’s not what excites the people involved with this system. People aren’t interested in the “management” of content, they want what they want when they want it and they want it on whatever thing they happen to be holding. I’ll let you in on a secret, AIIM knows that.

In fact, AIIM has been saying that for years!

AIIM was the first organization to recognize the difference between Systems of Record and Systems of Engagement. Many others have ridden the wave of that tag line, but AIIM defined it. AIIM recognized early on, the value inherent in mobile and cloud solutions, and AIIM continues to understand that best practices have a place in this complex arena. AIIM also continues to define those best practices and to educate people in how to apply them. AIIM does this through research, thought leadership, education and by tapping an incredible community of true information professionals. I am not drawn to any of the people in that community because of the letters after their names. I’m drawn to them because they have honest expertise in the field of information management and they are willing to share it.

I am still on the Board of AIIM International. I won’t describe or debate the decision to drop the CIP. If you’re interested, please take the time to read John Mancini’s explanation. I will share with you that I am more excited about AIIM than I have been in years. I am looking forward to attending the AIIM Conference in New Orleans in April, and I hope to see you there. Like many employees, I am pretty much restricted to belonging to one professional association and participation in one industry conference each year. My choice is AIIM, on both counts.

12 thoughts on “Ding Dong the CIP

  1. Great sentiments in your article Dan. I agree that having a certificate is of value, but way more important is the on-going advice and support of AIIM’s whole IM tribe. AIIM’s ability to define how that world is changing and show how you can respond is more relevant than ever. Perhaps I am biased as I am also on the board, but I participate because I believe in it and because demands on information management in Lockheed Martin are increasing rapidly. Aren’t we all ‘better together’?

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