Excluding The Information Professional In SharePoint

By Nicholas Inglis posted 11-07-2011 06:38


There is a conversation that keeps repeating every time I'm speaking at a SharePoint event, it's the question of  "where do I fit in"? I'm usually put in the "Special Topics" section of the SharePoint  events along with other people with similar experience and information to provide to the community. I wonder, if ECM and Collaboration are "Special Topics" in SharePoint, what information are we keeping from the SharePoint community at large?


A fair amount of the expansion in usage of SharePoint from 2007 to 2010 was the enhancements made in the ECM and ERM functionality. Those changes made SharePoint a viable platform for many more companies who had in the past resisted the shift to SharePoint. Who within the SharePoint community speaks with any authority on ECM and ERM to help guide these new SharePoint converts? Should it really be Developers & IT Pros? No, it should be Information Professionals or better yet, Certified Information Professionals.


Information Pros need space just as much as Developers & IT Pros. We're the people that have been busy developing models of governance (or rather, reworking the models of Governance that we've used since the days of Microfilm) and have been driving forward the conversation about how SharePoint can be used as a "proper" ECM (and yes, maybe even ERM) system.


The problem is that we're still using the same categorization of people in SharePoint that we've used since before the product was called SharePoint, before the product was acceptable as an ERM product, before SharePoint could entice companies and experts in the Information Management field over to its' court. The product has changed drastically and it's time that we update our expertise areas (note my prior article about how the title of End User should go away).


What has ended up happening because the Information Professionals have been excluded in large part (or delegated to the role of "Special Topics" which feels a bit like the junk drawer of SharePoint) from the parts of the conversation in SharePoint that should be dominated by the experts. Instead, those topics have been dominated by IT Pros & Developers, and yes, I love you guys, but on topics of Governance, ECM and ERM, you're causing a lot of confusion and I've seen and heard some "less than kosher" information.


Ask some of the folks that I've trained in the AIIM SharePoint for ECM course if they'd ever understood Governance prior to our course despite heavy involvement in the community? The answer is a resounding "no". Governance was either an area of mystery or was simplified down to server management. The AIIM model was novel to them (despite it being a reworking of a model that has been tried and true for over 50 years).


I'd love to see new categories start appearing (and this has started in some groups, thank you). How about additional categories of Governance Experts, Information Professionals, Social Business Professionals, etc. I believe that it is necessary for the SharePoint community to adapt to the changes that have already occurred in the product and in the job titles of the people who are working on SharePoint today.


If you're planning a SharePoint event or have a SharePoint website, what are the barriers to you making changes to your categories?

#informationmanagement #informationprofessional #informationcertification #SharePoint