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Why ECM Vendor and Partner Should Support AIIM’s CIP Program

Yesterday, Jesse Wilkins provided an update on the new CIP (Certified Information Professional) exam.  This program is a good thing for the ECM (Enterprise Content Management) ecosystem, but it needs support from ECM vendors and their partners.  Why should vendors and partners care?  I’ll give you three reasons and they all involve money.

1.  CIP Cuts Internal Training Costs

Having CIP certification means that the individual already understands the basics of being a Certified Information Professional.  A hiring manager can expect the person to already know what it means to manage information in an organization using standard terminology.  This gets the person out of training and billing or selling faster.

After 16 years in the ECM industry, a new employer still required me to spend a month in basic training.

Using the average salary of an information professional at $81.7k, that’s a training savings of $315 a day.  That is easily $1,575 per new employee in training per week.  Depending on the organization this could be huge.

2.  CIP Enforces Continuing Education

One of the most important parts of CIP is continuing education.  Professional development is the responsibility of both the individual and the organization.  Professional certification puts more of the responsibility for continuing education on the individual.  Most professions – law, accounting, medicine, etc. – require continuing education to monitor licenses.  Continuing education requirements ensure that the CIP certification holds its value over the long term.

Vendors and partners can use continuing education as a way to promote their team’s value.  Standard vendor message is something like, “we invest over x days in training per employee every year.”  In reality we know this is often not true, especially for our most valuable consultants.  It’s hard to take someone out of a billable engagement especially with a backlog.  If holding their CIP certification is important to the consultant, they will find a way to meet their continuing education requirement.

Continuing Education puts part of the onus on the individual.  It also guarantees that training occurs because 45 hours is mandated every three years.  Most of the requirement can be covered in quarterly and annual team meetings.

3.  CIP Improves Messaging

Probably the biggest value of CIP is that it improves messaging.  Every ECM vendor has developed their own dialect.  Keyword, attribute, index value, and description aren’t necessarily different.  I’ve seen CLM (Contract Life Cycle Management) used for Content Life Cycle Management and ECM (Enterprise Content Management) used for Enterprise Contract Management.  CIP will enforce that practitioners can speak the same language among each other because the exam is in standard industry terminology, not vendor speak.

When I was first introduced to this customer, our team had been dealing with an issue for over six months.  I asked the customer to clarify what they meant by a specific term they were using.  When our team lead heard the customer’s meaning, she said “we thought you were talking about something else.”  The issue was closed the next day.

New training will be developed with CIP Continuing Education credits in mind.  This will ensure that a consistent vocabulary and concepts are used and fostered.  This ultimately leads to clarity in software purchase decisions and deployments.  This can be a big benefit in a single organization engagement.  It offers even more value when we look at a team that has members from several organizations.

Get with the Program

CIP accreditation can be very important to an individual’s profession career.  It also offers organizations tangible value as well.  With the CIP certified individuals vendors and partners can save money, build brand, and further quality.  CIP holders save money by reducing training costs.  CIP continuing education training builds brand by ensuring team training investments.  The CIP program builds on quality by fostering consistency in messaging and understanding.

The faster your organization is growing, the more important the CIP program should be to you.

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