February 24, 2017

Marko Sillanpää: Own Your Own ECM Career Of course I agree with Marko, but I've been making this same argument for more than a decade. Even the best employer won't know, or be able to provide, the right professional development opportunities for you and all the time.

February 22, 2017

AIIM17 Preapproved for CRM, IGP, CIP CEUs

I am pleased to announce that we've obtained preapproval from ARMA and the ICRM to award continuing education points (CEUs/CMPs) to attendees of the AIIM17 Conference and the precons. Attendees will get the applicable code(s) at or after the conference per longstanding practices of ARMA and the ICRM.

All AIIM events are preapproved for CIP credits as well. We do not use preapproval codes per se with CIP because we can look up AIIM activities in our own systems.

Here are the details for the preapprovals:


  • 12.5 ICRM CMPs (Part V)
  • 12.0 IGP CEUs (7.5 General, 4.5 IT)
  • 12.5 CIP CEUs
BPM Specialist Precon:

  • 6.5 ICRM CMPs (Part V)
  • 6.5 IGP CEUs (3.5 General, 3.0 IT)
  • 6.5 CIP CEUs
ECM Specialist Precon:

  • 6.5 ICRM CMPs (Part V)
  • 6.5 IGP CEUs (6.5 IT)
  • 6.5 CIP CEUs
ERM Specialist Precon:

  • 6.5 ICRM CMPs (Part V)
  • 6.5 IGP CEUs (3.5 General, 3.0 IT)
  • 6.5 CIP CEUs
CIP Prep Workshop Precon:

  • 6.5 ICRM CMPs (Part V)
  • 6.5 IGP CEUs (2.5 General, 2.0 IT, 2.0 Legal)
  • 6.5 CIP credits (but as a CIP, why would you be taking this workshop?)
As always, feel free to ping me at jwilkins@aiim.org with any questions. 

Retaking the CIP

We want everyone who takes the CIP exam to be successful. At the same time, we know that with a rigorous exam, there will be some candidates who don't pass the exam on the first try, for a variety of reasons. I regularly hear from these candidates who want to retake the exam, but are unsure how to do so.

First, an unsuccessful candidate has to wait 15 calendar days to even reschedule the CIP exam. This is to deter unscrupulous individuals from simply taking the CIP over and over again, memorizing the questions, and then selling them to one of the many "brain dump" (i.e. cheat) sites available. As an aside, if you go to a website that guarantees you'll pass a certification exam on the first try, you should run in the opposite direction as fast as possible. All those sites do is cheapen the value of a certification by creating "paper CIPs", or whatever certification, that have the letters but don't actually know what they are doing. Any candidates who are unsuccessful a second time and require a third or more opportunity to pass the exam are required to wait 90 calendar days.

Second, you should review the areas of the exam in which you performed poorly. We offer a number of resources at http://www.aiim.org/cip, including:

I am happy to provide guidance on other resources for particular domains or knowledge areas.

Third, you need to pay the exam fee again. This is the norm for certifications - I haven't done exhaustive research, but some of the most well-known certifying bodies require retake candidates to pay at least a portion of the original exam fee, and some require paying the entire fee again. For example:
PMI - the retake fee is lower. See here for details.
IAPP - the retake fee is lower. See here for details.
ISACA - the retake fee is the same as the original fee. See here for details.
ARMA - the IGP retake fee is lower. See here for details.

I wasn't able to find the retake fee for the CRM on the ICRM's website, but I believe it is the same fee every time a candidate needs to retake one of the exams.

Our policy is that candidates who wish to retake the CIP exam must pay the full exam fee. Since we don't require an application fee, we don't require AIIM membership to take or maintain the CIP, and our exam cost is already among the lowest in the information management industry, we feel it's still a good value. In very, very rare cases we will waive some or all of the retake fee, but this is highly unusual and requires me to personally review and approve that waiver.

I hope this clarifies the process for retaking the CIP. Again, we want all candidates to be successful, but we also want the CIP to mean something and that means ensuring the exam and the exam process are fair but rigorous. Feel free to reach out to me directly with any questions at jwilkins@aiim.org.

February 19, 2017

StateTech: How State Archivists are Taking On Avalanches of Email Data

Via Peter Kurilecz.

Bob Baird to resign from ARMA CEO effective 3/31

From the Feb 2016 ARMA InfoPro newsletter:

To ARMA members and friends, effective March 31, I will retire from ARMA International. This was a bittersweet and very personal decision for me, but leaders always hope to leave their organizations in a stronger position than where they found them, and thanks to my staff, our volunteers, and our board of directors, I believe we have done just that.

When I joined ARMA in the spring of 2015, we had two very specific goals:
  1. Create a nimbler, more membership-focused, and financially stronger organization to better serve our members
  2. Provide a level of value to members that exceeds their expectations and ensures a strong pipeline of new members
So, how are we doing?
  • We’re a more transparent organization, both externally and internally, with a clear focus on serving members.
  • We’ve created increased value for our members through new programs such as iMasters, inDepth, and the improved virtual conference. In addition, we’ve initiated updates for all foundational IG intellectual property to include:
                - Records and Information Management Core Competencies
                - Glossary of Records and Information Management Terms, 5th Edition
                  (ARMA International TR 22-2016)
                - The Generally Accepted Recordkeeping Principles®
                - Job Descriptions for Records and Information Management (PDF)
                - The Information Governance Maturity Model
  • We’ve grown IGP certification over 36%.
  • We’ve begun the process of developing the IGBOK (Information Governance Body of Knowledge), which will provide a solid foundation for the practice of information governance and increase the relevance of our profession throughout the industry.
  • And we have strengthened the region/chapter infrastructure together. I can’t begin to express how grateful I am for those “on the ground” who bring ARMA home to our membership.  I applaud you all for your dedication and commitment to this organization. 
The ARMA board of directors didn’t have to look far to find the perfect successor: Jocelyn Gunter. For those who may not know Jocelyn, she’s been my “wingman” and a true partner for these two years.  Much of the change you’ve seen has been a direct result of her many contributions.

You’ll hear more about Jocelyn in next month’s Info Pro, but rest assured she has the right leadership qualities and skills and is the right person to work with our board to take ARMA International to new heights.

Lastly, I want to thank the ARMA board members for their vision, leadership, and support. Your board is comprised of the industry’s best, who, along with Jocelyn, are poised to provide even greater value to you. Knowing what ARMA currently has under development and in store for our membership in the coming years truly excites me.

As I leave, I can say ARMA is in great hands. Thanks to the strength of our members and business partners, our improved relationships with our chapters and regions, a more membership-focused organization, and the leadership and support of the board and staff, ARMA today is a much stronger association and well positioned to better serve its members going forward.

We’ve accomplished a lot but have more to do. As a former military man, I want to quote one of my previous mentors, Lieutenant General Mike Hough, who said:

“One rarely accomplishes great things by themselves. Instead, they stand on the shoulders of those who have gone before and those who stand around them.” 

I have been fortunate to have had this opportunity to know and get to work with you and our community and stand on your shoulders. My many thanks.

For me, I’m going to follow the lead of so many of you who’ve become active volunteers. I look forward to working with you and learning from you in this new role.
Here’s to the bright future of ARMA International!

Bob Baird, CEO, ARMA International

February 17, 2017

Activity 2/17: Treadmill, 2.2mph, 9.0% incline. 1:00, 2.2 miles

February 16, 2017

Activity 2/16: Treadmill, 2.25mph, 9.0% incline, 1:00, 2.25 miles

February 15, 2017

How to Prepare for the CIP Exam

I see the exam results of every single person who takes our 25-question CIP sample exam, and of every person who takes the full, formal CIP. The latter includes specific results by domain as well as an overall score. I'll share some of those statistics in another post later, but I wanted to post some guidance for CIP candidates on how to best improve their chances for success with the CIP exam.

Preparing to be a CIP candidate
Like most certification exams, the CIP was built on the basis of a job task analysis. We asked subject matter experts in 2011 and again in 2016 what CIPs need to know, and be able to do, as part of their job. This resulted in the development of the exam blueprint. So the first recommendation I'd make is: Have 3-5 years of hands-on experience doing those things - at least in one domain. While the CIP is not intended to be a deep-dive into technology, candidates should have some experience with common technologies like scanning, email, Office, the web, and so forth, and common information management processes like document management, records management, or business process management. 

It is a challenging exam. Accordingly, it's very challenging to succeed at the exam if you have no practical experience/knowledge to bring to bear. Someone fresh out of college, or fresh out of high school, or who has just changed jobs from a completely unrelated field, should not expect to pass the exam without a massive amount of studying. 

Similarly, we think pretty highly of our CIP study guide and CIP Prep workshop. But it is not realistic to go into the prep workshop cold, with no background or experience in any of the domains, and expect to pass the CIP 3.5 days later. The workshop and study guide are better understood as ways to brush up on topics you know, and do some light studying of things you might not be as comfortable with.

Update: If you are a consultant or other role and have 5+ years of significant breadth and depth of experience in multiple domains, you can probably take it cold. I know a number of CIPs who did just that. But since you have to pay for any subsequent exam attempts, I would strongly recommend that all candidates do at least some studying of the areas in which you are least experienced. 

Preparing for the actual CIP exam
Congratulations, you're a candidate! Now what? Well, the aforementioned resources are certainly helpful to help you review and prepare for the exam. Here are a couple of other strategies/tips. 
  • Review the exam outline. It lists all of the knowledge areas for which there could be questions on the exam. These are designed to be broadly applicable and reflect defensible best practices across industries, geographic locations, and solutions. 
  • Review the bibliography. These were the resources that we used to write those exam questions. They will often lead you to other resources you can use to round out your knowledge on a particular topic or domain. ISO standards and bodies of knowledge are always a good bet. 
  • Take the CIP sample exam. It's only 25 questions but it should closely approximate the types of questions you'll see on the actual exam. 
  • Take one of the other AIIM courses. The 2016 CIP update aligns more closely to existing AIIM courses as well, so taking our ERM course will prepare you for Domain 5 and to some extent Domain 3. Our ECM course will prepare you for Domain 1 and 2. The Master Classes prepare you for Domain 6. Etc. 
Preparing for YOUR exam
Finally, here are the things to do once you feel ready and prepared to be successful on the CIP exam. 
  • Schedule your exam. You can find Kryterion test centers on their website; if you're taking an AIIM CIP Prep workshop, you generally also have the option to take the exam onsite. To do so, you need to bring a Windows laptop with you; ping me with specific questions about tech requirements. 
  • Prepare to take an exam. The usual guidelines apply: get some sleep, have a typical meal, don't stress out too much. Bring 2 types of photo ID. Don't bring any references, the study guide, your electronics etc. as Kryterion will make you store them with them before you go into the exam room, and so will I if you're taking an onsite proctored exam. 
  • Bring your registration documents with you to the exam. The proctor will most likely have them as well, but having yours readily available, along with the details of your date, time, and location, is helpful and may eliminate one more source of stress. 
If you're a CIP, what other tips would you share? 
JD Supra: Metadata Plays Key Legal Role in $10.8 Million Whistleblower Lawsuit Verdict

February 14, 2017

Laurence Hart: ECM, Content Services, Or Just Doing It?

Certifications and continuing education requirements

All certifications have, or should have, a continuing education requirement. The CDIA exam I took in 2002 has almost zero relevance in the technology and process environment of 2017. And in fact this is one of the key benefits of a formal certification as compared to, say, a certificate or even a full degree program - once you complete a degree or certificate, that's it. As soon as you're done it starts getting stale, Certifications are designed to allow candidates to demonstrate their knowledge and expertise in certain areas - but they are also markers of dedication to continuing professional development. Someone who has maintained a certification for 20 years has had to make at least some effort to keep up with changes in the industry and technologies.

The process generally involves earning continuing education units (CEUs) and paying a fee, typically lower than the original exam/assessment fees. Every program determines what types of activities are appropriate for earning CEUs and how many are required; the typical figures are around a 3-5 year recertification cycle and 15-20 CEUs per year of the cycle. Certificants have to report these credits and pay the fees within the time limit in order to maintain the credential. I discuss this process for the CIP in much more length here.

Certifying organizations have to balance the desire to have certificants maintain their credential - and the revenue that comes from them - with the need to ensure certificants really are doing what is expected. If it's too hard, people drop the certification; if it's too easy, it devalues the value of it. So many organizations have a process in place where certificants provide information about a qualifying event along with proof of participation, such as a registration, receipt for payment, brochure, or URL. Certificants should always maintain their own copies of these things - screenshots, the digital (or paper!) brochure, etc. - in case there are questions when it's time to recertify.

One way in which certifying organizations try to balance these needs is to offer preapproval to third party event producers/trainers. This provides a number of benefits depending on your point of view:

  • The certifying organization shows its relevance and that of its designation, as event producers include its name, designation name, and logo in their marketing materials
  • Event producers have a ready way to demonstrate their commitment to the specific certifying organization and the broader community/industry as they market
  • Individual certificants can attend events secure in the knowledge that they are educational in nature and of some level of quality
  • Candidates can also attend those events and for largely the same reasons; in addition, some credentials require some amount of education to even sit for the exam, and these events can meet some or all of that need
Every once in a while a certifying body considers this question and determines that it will only accept its events - that makes it more money, and why should it go to the trouble of accepting, or even promoting, competitive events? This is a terrible idea for several reasons: 
  • Most non-technical certifications are designed to demonstrate industry-accepted knowledge and expertise, not that of a single organization or product. 
  • Individuals won't limit themselves to consuming a single product or service - rather, they will assume that the certification isn't a "real" one since it doesn't accept their otherwise educational activities. 
  • Certifying bodies are themselves part of a community. If AIIM only accepted AIIM events for CIP CEUs, it would only be logical for ARMA, the ICRM, etc. to only accept theirs or at least refuse AIIM events for credit. This results in everyone cutting off their own noses to spite their faces. 
  • Education should be evaluated based on its value and content, not whose name or logo is on the cover. 
  • Frankly, it's also a way for associations to work more closely together. We compete in many ways and on many things - but ultimately we're all in the business of providing value to the members of our communities, and I view all of our various communities as part of the same, larger, information management community. I am an AIIM professional member, and an ICRM member, and an ARMA member, and a member of many other groups.
This is why at AIIM we accept any event for CIP CEUs provided that it meets two requirements: it's educational in nature, and it relates to the CIP body of knowledge. So ARMA events and courses count. So do events produced by other organizations and associations. Vendor events count. Again - it's related to CIP, and it's educational. We provide more examples on our CIP CEU reporting form

So. Event producers, associations, vendors. If you have an event or course that aligns to the CIP, reach out to me. Send me the details - date, duration, location, schedule/agenda - and we'll get it reviewed and approved for CIP credits.  If you have a certification that aligns with information management/governance, send me your details and I'll send over our events and training courses to get preapproved for your certification's CEU program. You  can always reach me at jwilkins@aiim.org.

February 13, 2017

Proctoring and the CIP certification

We just delivered two CIP prep workshops, and each workshop ended with an onsite proctored exam. I wanted to talk a bit about what happened during the proctoring and some impressions I took from it.

Most formal exams are proctored. This just means that there is some supervision mechanism in place, usually a person, to ensure that the exam is completed by the candidate under the conditions established for the exam. For the CIP, we do not allow any reference materials, so the proctor makes sure that the candidate doesn't bring anything into the exam room with them - no papers, no technology. Similarly. students can't collaborate on the exam but must take it silently. The proctor is also there in case something goes wrong - if there's a technology issue for instance.

We offer two proctoring options through our exam provider Kryterion. The first is the very traditional approach wherein a candidate schedules an exam at an exam center, goes to the center on the appointed date/time, and takes the exam. The second is to conduct an onsite proctored exam, which is what we did on Friday, Feb 10, in our office in Silver Spring, MD, and Monday, Feb 13, in Oslo, Norway, for a private course. Both cases are substantially similar so I'll focus on my first-hand experience in Silver Spring.

Before I do though I should note that onsite proctoring is quite common - it's what every high school and university student goes through for every quiz and exam administered in a classroom. Many certifications offer this as an option as well, and the main reason others don't is because of the logistical burden associated with it, not because of any real security concerns.

We held the course in a conference room from Tuesday morning through Friday morning. We broke for lunch on Friday at 12 and reconvened for the exam at 1. We had six candidates who took the exam. Four of the six brought their own laptops to use as exam stations, and I provided two exam stations using my personal laptops. I logged into each workstation using my proctor ID and code, and then logged each candidate into a workstation. As part of that process I downloaded an HTML Application (.hta) file provided by Kryterion that provided several security features. It opened the browser in full screen mode, and made it so that pressing any of a number of keys such as esc, ctrl, tab, etc. would halt the exam and require the proctor to relog the candidate in.

Each candidate then sat down at the applicable workstation, verified their name was displayed, and clicked the Start Exam button which started the exam and the exam timer. Once a candidate started his or her exam, he or she was allowed no further talking, with the exception that he/she was to raise a hand upon encountering any technical issues. We did have a few of those and resolved them quickly, quietly, and without issue.

When each candidate completed the exam, the overall score was immediately displayed along with a breakdown of how the candidate performed on each of the six domains. An overall score of 60% is required to pass the CIP exam - I discuss how we arrived at that passing score in another post.

I am pleased to announce that all six candidates at my exam session passed and that all criteria were met for a successful proctored exam. At the exam administered today, most, but not all, the candidates passed and the proctor conducted the exam in exactly the same fashion described here.

I think that one of the benefits of doing this onsite proctoring is that, as the settings are a bit more familiar than the typical testing booth at an exam center, candidates feel a bit more relaxed. It's every bit as secure, but test anxiety may be reduced slightly. It does require having a proctor, and one who is trained on how to use the Kryterion system, but it's pretty straightforward and the underlying technology is quite good - we had a candidate whose system froze up (on my laptop so my blame) and when we restarted the exam, the candidate's responses and timer were saved such that he was able to seamlessly continue and complete the exam.

The biggest hurdle is that we require candidates to bring their own computer - Windows 7, 8, or 10 only, Internet Explorer or Chrome only, couple of other requirements. I'll be posting separately about those requirements as we prepare for the next onsite proctored exam, scheduled March 14, 2017 at the AIIM17 Conference in Orlando.

If you're interested in the CIP, we offer preparatory courses from time to time in Silver Spring and other locations. You can always find the list of upcoming AIIM training courses, including CIP Prep workshops, at http://www.aiim.org/training. Our next public CIP workshops are scheduled for March 28-31 in Amsterdam and May 23-26 in Silver Spring.
Future Proof: Tweets, Facebook posts and other social media information are State records

Daily Dot: FBI will revert to using fax machines, snail mail for FOIA requests

H/T: Don Lueders

Microsoft: Track your Office knowledge and skills with Office Training Roadmaps This is ridiculously cool - the PDFs can be printed as posters, but if you save them as PDFs, each bullet point is a link to a relevant training video.