October 24, 2011 - 11:10 AM
Over the last few months I have had dozens of conversations about the Information Certification. The topic that seems to come up most frequently is whether it was designed to compete with the Certified Records Manager from the ICRM and ARMA, or the CompTIA CDIA+, or [insert specific certification here]. Let me share my perspective as a holder of all three certifications and several others and from having been intimately involved with the development of the Information Certification from the start.
It is true that the Information Certification is competitive in the sense that individuals and organizations only have so much money to spend on these types of activities. People who get approval from their organizations to take the Information Certification probably will not also be approved to take the CRM, at least not in the same timeframe.
But the focus of the Information Certification is different from most of the other ones out there and certainly from the ones I am familiar with like CRM, CDIA+, PMP, and the like. Each of those is designed to validate knowledge and expertise in a relatively narrow body of knowledge. As Patrick Cunningham recently posted
, "...the CRM is a mile deep and a yard wide." This is worthy and important stuff. But it also can pigeonhole people into that narrow role; more importantly, on any given information-related topic or process, if records isn't specifically part of the discussion it can be difficult to insert it into it because too often the people in the discussion don't think of it.
The Information Certification, in contrast, is targeted towards generalists - that is, those people who have to understand the totality of information flows and processes in their organizations. Historically this role has not been filled very well or has had to be filled by multiple people as part of an information governance steering committee or the like. And even where this is in place, information management is more than information governance. Organizations are looking to exploit *all* the information they have and use it to reduce costs, drive revenue, improve operational efficiencies, and so forth.
A number of studies have come out recently recommending that organizations develop information management professionals who can easily move between content management and knowledge management and the cloud and search and of course records mananagement and everything else that relates to their information-intensive processes. Forrester released a research report last year called "A Snapshot of Today's Content and Collaboration Professional"
that described 24 separate information-related processes that needed to be considered as part of a comprehensive information management strategy. And Gartner has been pushing for enterprise information management for a number of years. In a 2007 article
in Computer Weekly, Gartner analayst David Newman argued that "organizations who do not approach information management in a coordinated, enterprise-wide manner will fail in their business objectives in the first or second year at a rate of more than 90%."
More recently, in August 2011 Gartner released "CIO Alert: You Need Information Professionals"
, which noted that "Professional roles focused on information management will be different to that of established IT roles. An "information professional" will not be one type of role or skill set, but will in fact have a number of specializations." The report goes on to note that "the enterprises that are moving first to create these roles, and train for them, will be the first to benefit from information exploitation."
At the same time, it is clear that nobody has the expertise to be a CRM
, and PMP
, and CBAP
, and CISSP
, and CIPP
, and every other certification under the sun - if you tried to do that you'd be doing nothing else but studying and doing continuing education.
Enter the Information Certification. It is not intended to replace or compete with those certifications listed above, but rather to demonstrate sufficient understanding of all of them to understand when to go to those subject matter experts. The Information Certified professional, whose job title could be anything from information manager, to IT manager, to records manager, would have the skills to raise the question of records management when the organization contemplates a new social business initiative. He/she would be able to raise questions of usability for the website. And mobile device strategy. And privacy considerations associated with commercial social networks or the organization's website. And many other things. And when it comes time to build the access control list, or the retention schedule, or the search engine optimization, or the discovery keyword lists, the Information Certified professional would work hand in hand with subject matter experts to get the job done and ensure the thing is considered from all relevant angles.
In other words, I think the Information Certification is highly complementary to those other industry certifications like the CRM and the CISA
because it matches the "mile deep and yard wide" deep expertise in a particular area with the broader "mile wide and yard deep" understanding of how that deep expertise relates to all the other information-related processes in the organization.
I will be posting more in-depth examination of the various examination domains, the continuing education process, etc. over the coming weeks. In the meantime, you can find more information about the Information Certification, including the detailed exam objectives and how to prepare for the exam, at http://www.aiim.org/certification
. Or feel free to send me a note at email@example.com
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This post and comment(s) reflect the personal perspectives of community members, and not necessarily those of their employers or of AIIM International