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New information governance initiative takes on AIIM, ARMA

Leaders of the new Information Coalition say the group will offer information governance training, certification and research -- but can it compete against AIIM and ARMA?

On the heels of a major leadership change at professional association AIIM, the Information Coalition is launching. The fledgling information governance initiative, like AIIM, strives to serve practitioners.

Launching this week, the Information Coalition is the outgrowth of several efforts: the Information Governance Conference (InfoGovCon), the Information Symposium and the Information Governance Model.

Nick Inglis, consultant at information governance outfit Optismo, based in Branford, Conn., and co-founder of the Information Coalition, said the organization is launching to meet a void in the enterprise information management market. The 800-pound gorillas in the industry, associations such as AIIM and ARMA, have become so "vendor-heavy and vendor-focused that they can't meet the needs of practitioners," Inglis said.

Is this town big enough for another information governance initiative?

The Information Coalition is the outgrowth of efforts by Inglis; Rich Mesquista, CTO at Optismo; Jim Merrifield, information governance officer at law firm Robinson & Cole LLP; and the participation of Steve Weissman, an information management consultant at Holly Group and a SearchContentManagement contributor.

In 2014, the coalition's information governance model was put forth as an alternative to other industry models, including ARMA's Information Governance Reference Model, which targets the records management discipline, and the Electronic Discovery Reference Model (ERDM), which focuses on e-discovery efforts. Inglis said the coalition's model serves as a checklist of sorts that organizations can use to benchmark their governance practices.

We're trying not to be a top-down organization.
Nick Inglisco-founder, the Information Coalition

The Information Coalition targets and serves practitioners by offering services that include training, certification and research, Inglis said, adding that it does so with a grass-roots approach, because the coalition is "small and agile. We've been able to meet the needs of professionals in the industry in ways AIIM and ARMA haven't. We're trying not to be a top-down organization." He noted that the coalition has open-sourced its governance model and crowdsources its session topics for InfoGovCon. With the launch, the coalition also has formed small focus groups of practitioners that meet to discuss -- and solve -- challenges they face.

The coalition's membership is relatively small, compared with its competitors, so it remains to be seen how the information governance initiative will fare in the market. Consider that InfoGovCon boasts about 250 attendees at its annual conference, compared with AIIM's 800-plus attendees and ARMA's 2,500; AIIM and ARMA also boast thousands of members.

The Information Coalition will conduct a virtual training series on topics such as information governance, SharePoint and records management. It also will offer certification, which has been a sore spot for AIIM. The organization launched the Certified Information Professional certification, then killed it off, and then resurrected it following a revolt from CIPs on the Web.

One door opens, another closes?

Only last week, John Mancini announced he stepped down as president of AIIM to preside over a new content marketing service offering at AIIM. Peggy Winton, executive vice president and chief marketing officer of AIIM, will take over Mancini's operating responsibilities, but Mancini's departure leaves questions about the direction of the information management market and whether a new information governance initiative can fill a void.

Laurence Hart, a SearchContentManagement contributor, consultant at Word of Pie and former CIO at AIIM, said Mancini's departure "is going to leave a hole within AIIM. He is going to be hard to replace."

In a February SearchContentManagement interview with Mancini just before he announced that he was stepping into a new role at AIIM, he alluded to the importance of new trends, such as content marketing, though he did not mention his plans to become more involved with inbound marketing services.

"One cluster of technologies that is near and dear to my heart is inbound marketing. What I get out of my HubSpot spend, it's just remarkable compared with other IT spends," Mancini said. HubSpot coined the term inbound marketing and is a leader in the market. He noted organizations that stay wedded to legacy technologies are likely to be displaced in the market -- possibly part of a pitch for new services at AIIM.

"Companies can't be captive to legacy systems," Mancini said, "or they will miss the revolution and get Ubered or AirBbnbed."

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