Tuesday, October 03, 2006


I saw a notice from AIIM yesterday that approaches it had made to ARMA had been rebuffed. Its difficult to know if its news or not - and if its important or not. For frankly no real waves will occur or industry changes emerge as a result, but it does give pause for thought.

On the surface (and probably a bit below) there is a lot of sense in a hook up - even if its only something a little more formal and co-ordinated than the current gap. But the industry is changing fast and neither organization has all the story - and there are worrying overlaps at times between the two. Even in terms of basic positioning there is confusion (I have never been comfortable with ARMA's claim to representing Information Managers for example).

ARMA is clearly member led - and a visit to one of their conferences makes this clear, AIIM (whether for the good or bad) is much more driven by Vendors. Neither fully understands the others world, and worryingly technology buyers and decision makers don't make much of a distinction...as a result we are seeing lots of innapropriate solutions being deployed, and the failure rate for ECM and Document related systems remains very high.

Two good organizations, with very different consituencies but with a need to agree common principals, scope and mission. But from the message out yesterday, a long way of achieving any of these....


Anonymous said...

I would tend to agree that it's a shame to miss such an opportunity.

john mancini

alan pelz-sharpe said...

Would love to see more collaboration of training and information in this space - particularly for SI's and IT staff more familiar with structured data...

Between TAWPI, AIIM, XPLOR and ARMA there is so much potential synergy...shame more can't be done collaboratively as this space is seeing such interest and expansion.

Anonymous said...

By NOT pursuing copperative activity such as this the two organisation tend to risk being seen as insular. At this time of change in the industry/profession ANY data and information manager needs to be aware of the Content Management and Records Management aspects of both the hard and electronic data.
I believe AIIM recognise this through their training. A cooperation would therefore seem to be eminently sensible from the standpoint of those outside ofthe politics.

Part of the problem of non-cooperation may be that ARMA have a "qualification" and AIIM do not, and ARMA feel threatened?
These are the views of an AIIM UK Member so I may not be up on what is going on in the US, but do ARMA have a feeling of superiority.

I, for one, have campaigned in the UK for an AIIM "qualification" and not just a "bought" certification.

Paul Warren, ECM(M)

alan pelz-sharpe said...

Hi Paul,
I don't know if ARMA does have a feeling of supriority or not. But I think we all at times forget that hard copy RM is a much much larger and deeper activity than we give it credit for - much larger in scale than eRM.
So AIIM & ARMA as a full merge would I suspect be a bad thing. But closer co-operation around eRM specifically would be very worthwhile.
Its about recognizing the boundaries and maybe ARMA feels threatened that its scope and mission is not fully appreciated by those of us on the electronic side of things???

George Parapadakis said...

I can't comment on ARMA as it's very much an American institution and, as Alan says, the RM profession in the US seems to me to be a much stronger community than in Europe. Monitoring the various RM listserves however, I believe that ARMA members themselves are aware of how insular ARMA has become within the overal ECM/IM community.

I do however want to concur with a point that Paul made (apologies if I'm taking the discussion slightly off-topic, but I know that John M and many other AIIM people read these threads...). Certification is not the same as accreditation! With the introduction of the ECM cources and certification in place of the previous MIT/LIT/etc. schemes, we have lost the means of an industry recognition scheme ("been there, done that, know what I'm talking about") in favour of a more commercially driven certification ("I've completed the course"). I personally believe that these two are complementary and work synergistically and would like to see both schemes running in parallel in the future!

George (george.parapadakis@gmail.com)

alan pelz-sharpe said...

Well I have to agree with George (and declare the interest that I am an LIT and MIT holder) that the demise of these is very misguided!

As a senior consulant advising businesses - an ECM certificate is of little value....

That said ECM certification is of immense value if I am a technical consultant and has it's place. Rather than trashing the LIT MIT route, they should be promoted and indeed people should be actively identified and encourage to apply...

Jesse Wilkins said...

Hi Alan, George, et al,

I agree but there is a further distinction to be made between certificate and certification. Anyone can issue a certificate - all that indicates is that you completed some prescribed course of study. A certification, in contrast, includes a more rigorous exam process, continuing education, and perhaps most importantly, a line between those who teach and those who certify.

I am waiting to see what happens WRT the AIIM Certificate Programs - there is an opportunity here for AIIM to really take control of the ERM space in particular if it's done the right way. But that means a certification regime that adheres to e.g. ISO 17024, the National Certification Commission, or the National Organization for Competency Assessment.

I'd like to see the LIT come back too - as far as I know I'm the only person ever awarded the LIT in Electronic Records Management because it was introduced right before the program was cancelled.

Cheers from Edmonton (this week),

Jesse Wilkins
MIT, LIT/ERM, LIT/EDIM, LIT/ECM, CDIA+, EDP, ICP, AIIM ERMM, AIIM ECMS, and any other letters I can think of :)

alan pelz-sharpe said...

Wow Jesse that's a lot of letters you have there :-)

I am at the ECM Plaza in the NL today and just talked with a major consulting firm (rivals of ours) and the guy there was also lamenting that it is difficult to get 'qualified' people to implement ECM systems - but even more difficult to find business consultants who understand this area...

Doug said...

Some interesting comments on ARMA and AIIM. As many of you may know, neither ARMA Board members, nor AIIM Board members are speaking in any public forum on the topic of the earlier "merger" discussions. I would encourage anyone who wishes to follow-up on this to contact ARMA and AIIM Board members and ask.

What I have not seen here...and perhaps some of you have given thought to this is the following: IF one were to propose such a combination of organizations, HOW could it be achieved and fairly represent the interests of the different constituencies? How would one develop "common principals, scope and mission" in light of the differences between the constituencies?

As for ARMA being "insular", I think that those who saw the ARMA Exhibits at the San Antonio Conference should understand that ARMA has not been "insular", and in fact has been quite inclusive.

I'm not pretending to speak for either group.....nor expressing any opinion here....on whether or not such "mergers" would be in the best interests of either or both. Again, for those who have questions..... ask the Board members of the affected Associations.

alan pelz-sharpe said...

Hi Doug and welcome to this blog! As you can see its an open forum touching on the topics of RM and ECM, and much to my suprise this post has had a lot of on and offline comments.
Personally I have no idea or opinion on how a merged ARMA-AIIM would work, but I welcome discussion as an interested bystander - discussion that I see as in addition to AIIM/ARMA board discussion. There was also a lively discussion on some of the RM.Rec boards, that you might like to check out.
Thanks for posting

Jesse Wilkins said...

Hi Alan,

Can you provide a link to the other lists you referenced discussing this?


Jesse Wilkins

alan pelz-sharpe said...

Link attached:



Tom Grant said...

I think the merger is necessary. The world has advanced to the point where you can't collaborate without looking over your shoulder at the likely legal, regulatory, or corporate risk consequences. At the same time, people in the RM business can't succeed if they don't have the cooperation of the masses--in which case, RM has to be part of other business processes, in an invisible or helpful way.

Merging AIIM and ARMA would send an important and necessary message to both the collaboration and RM sides of the IT world. Maybe this is just a pothole on the road to an inevitable conclusion.