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Trip Report: AIIM Conference 2014

In the inimitable style of Comedy Central’s Stephen Colbert, I must ask you: was last week’s AIIM Conference a good educational event for information professionals or a great one?

This was the third edition in the gathering’s reincarnation as an AIIM-only production, and it can be safely said that it was a worthy successor to the first two. The flow of positive energy continued unabated, and opportunities abounded for learning and networking. If you didn’t pick up some useful piece or knowledge, or meet someone new, well, then it was your own darn fault.

Thematically, some of the more interesting conversations I leaned toward these particular items:

  • Simplicity, in interfaces, in functionality, and in implementation. Do the tools we use really need to be so hard to use and install? Perhaps not, and there seems to be a move afoot to bring some order to the chaos. 
  • Clarity, in documentation and training. A close relative to simplicity, renewed attention appears to being paid to curing what I call “We Know What We Mean Syndrome” – a common affliction among engineering-driven software companies. 
  • Re-emergence of capture. Not that it ever went away, but I got the sense that people were talking more openly about it than has recently been the case. It may not be as ‘sexy’ as such other capabilities as social, mobility, and the cloud, but it’s vital to almost every operation, and it was nice to see it emerge from the shadows a bit.

Conference-goers had plenty of choices of sessions to attend, almost to a fault since it was often difficult to pick one good one over another that inevitably was being held at the same time. Booth-hoppers may have been similarly hard-pressed to manage their time well, as the number of exhibitors has grown to the point where AIIM’s organizational protests that it doesn’t want to be in the trade show business may be fraying at the edges. But the association did a very good job of scheduling enough breaks of sufficient length to give attendees ample opportunity to at least tour the displays.

Those of you who know me know I am not prone to ‘gushing’ in my reviews of things, so you know I mean it when I say that attending this conference was time well spent. Whether or not it was worth the several thousand dollars it costs to buy an admissions ticket and travel to and from Orlando is something only you can decide. But the content was there if you worked the week properly – and to me, that’s what made it good.

What’s your take on the AIIM Conference? Where else do you go to learn, meet, and greet? I’d really like to know, so leave a comment or via the social media links below.

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