AIIM Conference 2014 Trip Report

By Michael Alsup posted 04-09-2014 17:34


I went to the AIIM Conference last week in Orlando. While the format is very different than the big AIIM Shows in the 90’s and 00’s, many of the themes were the same. AIIM Still focuses on Enterprise Content Governance, it is just that there are so many more repositories and channels of communication in the enterprise than their used to be. The best of the vendors were out in force to leverage these themes.

The format is challenging, but rewarding. Instead of the traditional hour-long sessions, these sessions are half an hour. This causes the speakers to really focus on their message, to the benefit of the audience, I thought. The audience was high level and engaged. This is not a technical audience, it is a leadership audience and they are asking penetrating questions.

The AIIM staff are really committed to living up to the standards of their history. They are supporting many constituencies, and trying hard to help people. That is a refreshing dimension of AIIM. John Mancini, the AIIM President, has done a masterful job over the last 20 years in keeping AIIM relevant. They have kept up with social, local, and mobile, while other associations have not stayed on the edge.

The AIIM Fellows inducted four new members this year, John Chickering, Scott Allbert, Russ Stalters, and Steve Weissman. Fellows are recognized for their exceptional service to the Association and to the ECM industry. Betsy Fanning of AIIM indicated that this was the maximum number of new Fellows that the Bylaws of AIIM allow. There have been over 200 Fellows inducted since this practice was begun when AIIM was the National Micrographics Association. Of those, 70-80 Fellows are still living. For me, AIIM represents something that is seldom seen in the MBA and consultant-driven world of ECM. It is an opportunity to participate to make our industry better, and in so doing, to enable people who are coming into the industry to have the same opportunities that we had. This is what makes the AIIM Fellows important. 

When my father retired from DuPont in 1982, many of the people he had worked with for 40 years flew into Parkersburg, West Virginia for his retirement. In the rapid hire-and-fire world of ECM and the Internet, there is no more retirement from a position. If there is continuity in the ECM industry beyond the LinkedIn connections of an individual, it is in our industry association, AIIM. But, just as there is not much continuity of companies within ECM, likewise, there are great risks for associations such as AIIM. It takes people who know the industry and have experience guiding organizations through the ECM maze to continuously reposition AIIM to be successful. Thanks to all who participate in AIIM for your involvement. Stay involved. Stay thirsty. See you next year.