CIP Dies, Then Gets Better: What This InfoPro Thinks About That

A bit over a week ago, AIIM International decided to fold its Certified Information Professional (CIP) program into its existing educational structure. Then last Thursday, the organization reversed course, not only staying with the certification but announcing a v2.0 will be launched at its 2016 event.

As the face of the CIP’s free overview videos, I’ve been deluged with messages asking for my take on these moves, and I’m happy now to share my thoughts. Just remember that I do not sit on the AIIM Board and have no direct knowledge of how these decisions were made.

1. Why Do You Think the CIP Program Was Terminated?
The root of this decision likely has to do with what AIIM President John Mancini referred to in his post as “the struggle to make ends meet.” Close ongoing observation made it painfully clear that the CIP program did not receive the kind of marketing support we might have expected – even within the AIIM community, never mind beyond it. Consequently, the number of certifications actually earned, while promising, did not match the original (I suspect inflated) forecasts, and after spending so big to develop the program, the CIP was deemed expendable.

2. Why Do You Think the CIP Program Was Reincarnated?
In a word, pressure from CIP designees. (Okay, that’s four words.) My guess is that AIIM was surprised by the outcry that followed the publication of the CIP’s death notice, and it backtracked accordingly. This kind of responsiveness is all too rare in association (and business) circles, and AIIM is to be commended for it. My only question is how many non-CIPers weighed in, or even noticed? I am a CIP holder and I never got a public email regarding the program’s disposition, and I know I’m not the only one for whom this is true.

3. What Do You Foresee for the CIP Going Forward?
I am a proud member of the AIIM Company of Fellows, so I take no joy in responding to this question by saying “see Answer #1 above.” The plain facts are that (a) certification programs are expensive to administer and update, and (b) AIIM does not have the resources (human and financial) it once did. Please understand; this is not a knock against AIIM. It’s just the harsh current reality, and it is and was the same for other longstanding groups like ARMA and those now departed like TAWPI. So I have reservations about the CIP’s ultimate longevity.

4. Do You See a Need for Certification like the CIP?
Yes, I do. I’ve always taken a holistic view of information management, and it’s entirely true that it was easy for me to get behind the CIP from the day I was introduced to it. I also believe that AIIM ought to be a leader in this regard, for its members are best served by focusing on information management practices, not particular information management technologies. What I’m not sure of is whether this view is shared by of all the AIIM Board members, and that is what eventually will make or break not only the CIP, but the organization itself.

5. Will You Continue to Support the CIP?
Yes, I will. A good idea is a good idea, and I will continue to provide the kind of knowledge and support you need to be as successful as you possibly can. All you have to do is ask!

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 steve@hollygroup.com or 617-383-4655.

3 comments to “CIP Dies, Then Gets Better: What This InfoPro Thinks About That”

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  1. Tom Motzel, CIP - December 23, 2015 at 1:51 pm

    Thanks Steve! I would like to add one more thing which may be the greatest irony of this whole CIP debate. If you step back and look at AIIM’s 73 year history, I believe the CIP accurately reflects AIIM’s focus on the impact of technology on business process. Until the very recent years, AIIM spoke about and published a poster depicting the ‘Information Life Cycle’. (Not sure if that’s their exact term, but if you’re a long time professional dealing with information management, you know what I’m talking about and likely had the poster adorning a wall in your office at some point. 😉

    Over the past 10 years, we have become obsessed on ‘ECM’ to the detriment of the bigger picture. At the same time, we have developed our ‘deep dive’ training courses and all the necessary infrastructure and costs needed to support them. Now, as push comes to shove, our answer is to LIMIT the scope of CIP 2.0 to an overview of that which is contained in our ‘deep drive’ programs focused on ‘ECM’.

  2. Byron Aulick - January 21, 2016 at 2:25 pm

    My comment is based on being in the “ECM” business since 1985. I firmly believe “education” is the difference between success and mediocrity. Certifications can prove you have requisite-level understanding of the topic, but I have to tell you.. CompTIA and AIIM alike are primarily focused on “certification”, and education takes a back-seat. Sorry, but I have lived it and know the facts. Lets abandon politics and focus on doing our jobs the very best we can. If that means education, lets take that seriously. If certification comes after.. that’s good too, but passing a test is easy. Passing scrutiny in a working environment.. that is much harder! [end of harangue]

  3. Steve Weissman - January 21, 2016 at 2:35 pm

    Yes indeed! “Teaching to the test” is one thing, but “learning to support do-ing” is quite another and really should be the point. Thanks, Byron, for stopping by!

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