The CIP Applied: An AIIM Case Study

By Jesse Wilkins posted 11-09-2012 11:01



Here at AIIM we're making some technology changes that will improve many of the things we do and will allow us to do some new and very interesting things for our global community of information professionals. But as part of that process we ended up in a discussion I thought provided excellent insight into the value of the Certified Information Professional (CIP) certification. 
As most AIIM members know, when you do a technology upgrade one of the key considerations is data migration - that is, how do you get the old data into the new system? That answer depends to some extent on the answer to these two: how much of the old data needs to be migrated, and exactly which data is it that needs to be migrated?
As we began this initiative we started to ask questions about what to migrate and it quickly became clear that we use some data in some interesting ways. Here's an example. When AIIM admits new members into its Company of Fellows, that Fellow is granted Professional membership in AIIM in perpetuity. Now, many of our Fellows remain active in the information management field, but many of them have retired and are not as active on a day-to-day basis, so their records may not show much activity.
But here's the rub: they also don't have to renew their membership anymore, so their records don't even have that! Yet at the same time we need to keep their records to ensure they continue to receive the benefits they have earned. And AIIM has one higher award, the Order of Merit, that is only available to Fellows who have been such for at least 5 years. 
Now, had we simply elected to migrate most or all of our records going back, say, three years, we would have lost the records of some of the most distinguished members of our community. But our CIO, Laurence Hart, is a smart guy, and a CIP, and asked some thoughtful questions. Betsy Fanning, our director of standards and awards, also very smart, also a CIP, noted some of the issues outlined above. 
Other staff who are studying for the CIP and understood some of the cross-functional issues relating to training records management, sales, marketing, etc. also weighed in and ultimately we made some tweaks to the data that we were going to migrate to ensure all the issues were identified. But it was significantly easier to do because all of those people shared an understanding both of their particular areas of expertise and how they impacted other areas of information management. 
While you may not have this specific issue to deal with, you probably have similar sorts of data migration issues to deal with. Is IT making decisions in a vacuum? Are records, legal, and other stakeholders involved AND informed enough to understand the ramifications of one approach vs. another? The CIP can help by ensuring your information management professionals have that baseline foundation. For more information, check out our white paper, "The Rise of the Information Professional: A Career Path for the Digital Economy" or visit the CIP page at

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