October 26, 2016

Activity 10/26: Treadmill, 8.5% incline, 2.4mph, 1:30, 3.6 miles

October 24, 2016

eLearning Industry: 10 Best Practices For Writing Multiple Choice Questions In eLearning. Note that almost all of these apply to any sort of multiple choice questions such as certifications.

October 20, 2016

Box: Introducing Security Classification: A Smart New Addition to Box Governance (H/T: Alan Lepofsky)
GRM press release: Staples Launches Licensing Program Expanding Its Footprint in Services (H/T: Bud Porter-Roth)

The care and feeding of solution provider professionals

TL; DR: Solution provider staff need to attend industry events, conferences, and training or they will fall behind.

I've been thinking a lot lately about the role of solution providers in the information management industry, specifically as applied to education and professional development. I define solution providers as providers of hardware, software, or professional services to end user organizations who consume those goods and services.

Full disclosure: I've spent much of my career as a solution provider, mostly on the technical side but with some responsibility for marketing, sales, and business development. And I currently work at AIIM, with more than a little interest in increasing the number attendees at our conference and our training programs. But I started in the industry as a solution provider and saw the same dynamic then and have been thinking about it off & on for more than 20 years now.

So for all the solution providers out there, a gentle question: Why don't you develop your people?

Let me take a step back and explain. I speak at a lot of information management industry conferences and events. And yet I rarely see solution providers' staff at these events and courses. Sure, I see them manning the booth. Sometimes they participate in the networking activities, though often "the team" has to go to a team dinner to meet with partners or clients, review the day's events, and strategize for the next day's events. But they don't attend any educational sessions, with the exception of the occasional session that's available on the show floor from another solution provider.

I also teach a lot of courses on various information management-related topics. It is still very rare to see a solution provider send people to our public courses. I don't think it's the course content, because end users still seem to get substantial value from them. The solution provider staff members that have attended generally seem to get value from the courses as well. This value is not just from the educational content, but also from the interactions, and discussions, and sharing of lessons learned and good practices by people who have "been there, done that." But we don't see very many of them, and in private discussions I've had with many of them, they don't often get to go to things like that unless they pay for it themselves.

In both cases, where solution providers are in attendance, they are generally either the significant exception - and possibly doing it on their own dime - or they are somewhat on the outside looking in. Either way, they aren't getting any individual professional growth or development out of the experience. Why?

It isn't because they are world-class experts with nothing left to learn - though that may be a perception particularly among senior staff and management. And of course it costs money. But I'm reminded of the apocryphal exchange:

"What happens if we train our people and they leave?"
"What happens if we don't - and they stay?"

What, indeed?

Think about it another way, solution providers. You hired that person with a specific set of skills, knowledge, and experience. You're paying for that expertise. Every white paper and conference has as an underlying theme how quickly the industry changes: the tools, the processes, the ways in which information moves and is used, and acceptable practices for how things get done. It's imperative that your people stay up to date with relevant changes. Yet how does your staff do that if they aren't getting training and if they aren't attending conference sessions? As good as your white papers and webinars undoubtedly are, they simply aren't sufficient. Even if they are the best coverage of that topic in the world, they still reflect only one point of view - your organization's.

You charge annual maintenance to your customers, so they have access to your upgrades, your technical support, your other resources, and sometimes even your training. You want them to stay up to speed on the latest and greatest. Your staff need to do that as well - and it's more than just keeping up with your new release and the features and functions therein. But they also need to understand the bigger picture. What are the trends in the industry? How have customers, or prospects, or just other organizations, addressed particular issues? How have your competitors done so, and to what extent have they succeeded?

I understand that your business is in the business of the business - just like every other business. But according to the Association for Talent Development, the average company provides the average employee more than 53 hours of training per year. That's almost 9 full days of training per year (the typical training day is around 6-6.5 hours because of breaks, lunch, administrative tasks, etc.). How close are you to that for your sales staff? Your support staff? Your implementation/professional services staff? Your customer service staff?

I know many, many exceptional people in the industry. Some of them have the great fortune to work for organizations that do support professional development, and there are a few of those out there. Others understand that they have to take responsibility for their own growth and development, and they go to training and conferences on their own dime, and they get out there to other events on their own time and dime. But if they aren't getting support from you, you run the very real risk of losing them to an organization that does recognize the real value of their developing and maintaining those skills.

Sharon Fisher, Laserfiche: What Does PDF 2.0, Due Next Year, Do?

This is also another great example of how solution providers can provide highly educational, highly relevant content. Laserfiche has always been good at this dating back to their imaging guide from the late '90s.
Laurence Hart: All About Design at the 2016 Information Governance Conference

October 17, 2016

Emily Overton (RMGirl): Records Management and Compliance: The bigger picture & the risk mitigation

Updated speaking schedule

Latest in an irregular series.

Oct 2016
18 Info Summit Denver
29-Nov 4 Private BPM class, Cayman Islands

Nov 2016
9-10 Private class, Regina, Saskatchewan
28-Dec 3 ECM Master Class, Silver Spring, MD (TBC)

Dec 2016
12-17 ERM Master Class, Silver Spring, MD (TBC)

Feb 2017
6-10 CIP Prep Workshop, Silver Spring, MD (TBC)
13-17 ECMM, Silver Spring, MD (TBC)

Mar 2017
13-16 AIIM17, Orlando, FL

Apr 2017
3-7 ERMM, Silver Spring, MD (TBC)
24-28 ECMM, Chicago, IL (TBC)

May 2017
7-10 MER 2017 (TBC)
22-26 CIP Prep Workshop, Silver Spring, MD (TBC)

AIIM Private Courses

In this post I'll explore one of the hidden gems AIIM offers, at least in my mind. Full disclosure: I run all the training at AIIM and, at least for classes in the U.S., I'm generally the instructor as well.

We periodically schedule public classes in the U.S., mostly at AIIM HQ in Silver Spring, MD. Most of these classes are for our ECM, ERM, BPM, and CIP Prep "deep dive" classes: 2-4 days of instructor-led, "butts-in-seats" discussion, lecture, and exercises. We also offer public courses in Canada (Toronto), the UK (London), and Europe (Amsterdam).

What you may not know is that we are also available to teach private courses. Basically the process is that you have a group of people you want to get some training. We work with you to schedule dates/times and location - most frequently in a training or conference room in your organization's building, though sometimes we use a nearby hotel or facility. We work to ensure that schedule, location, and content all meet your particular needs. We teach these courses all over the world and are happy to come to your location, region, or country!

So why would you schedule a private course? There are a number of benefits to this approach over our traditional public courses.

  • Better control over the content. If your organization doesn't need X module, or wants to spend additional time on Y module, we can do that. We may also be able to tailor the discussions, etc. to your type of organization and location - I routinely teach at U.S. Federal Government agencies and can tailor the discussions to Federal IM and recordkeeping concerns such as FOIA. 
  • Custom content. We can also "mix & match" among our courses to create exactly the learning experience you want. I did a 4-day private class last year that included modules from ERM, Information Governance, ECM, Implementation, Taxonomy, and SharePoint. We can also incorporate your training/trainers or develop custom training - for example, we can build content on email management, social media governance, the Managing Government Records Directive in the U.S.,  or other topics of interest. 
  • Flexibility in scheduling. We had a course last year where a major holiday fell in the middle of the week. We made it work such that students were in class 2 days, took the holiday, and were back in class 2 more days.
  • Cross-functional team training. Having us in-house makes it much easier for you to include staff that might not ordinarily be able to get away for 4-5 days or who have less personal interest but for whom the class is particularly important, such as IT, legal, or project managers.
  • Flexibility in location. We go where the interest is; unfortunately, that means that unless you're in the DC area, Chicago, Houston, San Francisco, London, or Amsterdam, your offerings are limited or require travel. With a private class we come to you. 
  • Reduce or eliminate the travel cost. This is particularly true today, when travel budgets seem to be the first thing to be frozen or eliminated, and is more compelling the more people you have. If I come out to your site, you don't have to pay air, and hotel, and ground transport, and food, and everything else associated with a public class for each of your attendees.
  • Significant cost savings for the actual training cost. We generally charge a per-day fee, either including travel or with travel billed extra, which can be significantly cheaper with higher numbers of attendees. If you have 10-15 people you want trained on a topic, it's definitely cheaper to do as a private course. 
If you're interested in more information on a private training course, please contact AIIM at training@aiim.org and we'll have Michelle (North America) or Angela (EMEA) follow up with you. You can also contact me directly at jwilkins@aiim.org for additional information. 

October 12, 2016

Activity 10/12: Treadmill, 8.5% incline, 2.4mph, 1:30, 3.6 miles

October 7, 2016

Activity 10/7:Treadmill, 8.5% incline, 2.4 mph, 1:30, 3.6 miles

October 6, 2016

ARMA International Calls for Nominations for Board of Directors

The ARMA International Election Management Task Force announces the call for nominations and candidates for the board of directors. View the candidate submission requirements and qualifications here: http://www.arma.org/r1/myarma/election-information/qualifications

For this election cycle, the Election Management Task Force will be filling the following positions beginning July 1, 2017:

- President elect - The president elect serves a one-year term, moves to president for a one-year term, and serves the final one-year term as immediate past president/chair of the board.
- 1 director – The director will serve a three-year term from July 1, 2017, to June 30, 2020.

Do you know someone who meets the qualifications and would make a great addition to the board?Send your nominations, or your self-nomination, to Board.Affairs@armaintl.org. Please include the
e-mail address and phone number of the nominee. ARMA International will contact the nominee directly to confirm interest.

Nominations are due by October 19. All candidate-required materials are due by November 4. Watch for the announcement of the slate of candidates in early December and then plan to vote in the online election beginning January 9, 2016.

Candidates take note:
Newly elected candidates are invited to attend the board’s in-person strategic planning meeting in Kansas City on March 15-17, 2017. Participation is not required but is highly encouraged. A candidate forum via LinkedIn will take place in early January of 2017.

October 4, 2016

Activity 10/4: Treadmill, 8.0% incline, 2.4 mph, 1:11, 2.8 miles.