AIIM17: New Blood or Fresh Meat?

View From AIIM17: New Blood or Fresh Meat?

Like so many others, I have lots of nice things to say about last week’s AIIM17 conference in Orlando, FL. Energy levels were high, sessions were engaging, exhibitors seemed happy, and a good time was had by all.

However, rather than write yet another trip report on the subject (links to some are listed below), let me instead focus on one statistic AIIM kept bandying about: just under half of its attendees were first-timers.

I can’t decide if this is good news or bad.

It’s good news because it speaks well of AIIM’s effort to remain relevant to today’s information professionals, whose interest in ECM – er, sorry, Intelligent Information Management – is likely correctly perceived to be ever-more transient as specific projects are begun and completed.

But it’s potentially bad news if it persists or grows, for that would signal an AIIM inability to retain people who’ve already been there and done that – an issue I remember wrestling with back in my days on and as Chair of the old AIIM Conference Committee.

Remaining relevant in this day and age is no small challenge for associations in this space, not only for AIIM but for such other topically-related groups as ARMA and BFMA. The attraction of so much new blood to the AIIM Conference therefore is no small achievement.

That said, the prospect of perpetuating an audience of newbies should trigger some trepidation beyond how to offer “next steps,” as it may lead exhibitors to think of the event as providing them with a regular supply of fresh meat on which to prey. So far, AIIM’s conference series seems to have avoided that trap, but I’m always concerned that such an environment will lead vendors to hawk their wares like so many sellers of ballpark franks.

For now, it’s probably enough to bask in the glow of another successful meetup, and to look forward to next year’s edition. But AIIM would be well advised to stay close to its members in order to serve them as their careers progress – just as attendees would be wise to ensure any conference they consider meets them wherever they are on the experience curve.

Notable Takes on AIIM17

Did you go to AIIM17? What floated your boat the most? What would you like to have seen more of?

About the author: Steve Weissman

Steve Weissman is Principal Consultant at Holly Group and Co-Founder of Information Coalition. A trusted advisor for more than 20 years, he is a recognized expert in information governance and process innovation – or as he defines it, in the “’care and feeding’ of critical business information and the technologies used to manage and protect it.” Known as The Info Gov Guy™, Mr. Weissman leverages a proven proprietary methodology to optimize everything from your strategic planning and needs assessment to your vendor selection and user adoption. He is a member of the AIIM Company of Fellows and holder of numerous industry designations, and can be reached at or 617-383-4655.

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