John Mancini, chief evangelist and past president and CEO of the Association for Information and Image Management (AIIM) is an author, speaker, and thought-leader in the areas of information management and digital transformation, both of which are major factors in the new learning landscape.
In this episode of the Leading Learning podcast, Celisa talks with John about how digital transformation is impacting the way people learn, including the way organizations provide learning, the link between content marketing and education, and opportunities and threats for organizations like AIIM that are providers of lifelong learning.
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[00:18] – Thank you to YourMembership, the podcast sponsor for the third quarter of 2017. YourMembership’s learning management system is specifically designed for professional education with a highly flexible and intuitive system that customizes the learning experience. YourMembership’s LMS seamlessly integrates with key systems to manage all of your educational content formats in one central location while providing powerful tools to create and deliver assessments, evaluations, and learning communities.
[01:07] – Highlighted Resource of the Week – Information Chaos vs. Information Opportunity, an e-book by John Mancini that explains the challenge of information chaos and offers 34 actions that organizations can take to gain control over it.
[01:50] – A preview of what will be covered in this podcast where Celisa interviews John Mancini, chief evangelist and former president of the Association for Information and Image Management (AIIM).
[03:14] – Introduction to John and some background information about AIIM, his role, and areas of interest and focus.
[04:30] – A discussion about his new title/role as chief evangelist (vs. being president) and how it gives him the opportunity to speak on issues he cares about such as technology (specifically content and information management), associations and how they go about their tasks including some of the challenges they have, and how we market our services (specifically inbound marketing and how we change the way we communicate with our constituents).
[06:15] – Starting with digital transformation and disruption, would you tell us what that means to you and what implications you see specifically for organizations providing learning and education, as AIIM does, and as most associations do? John compares the waves of technology that are spilling into organizations, both in the public and private sector, to those of a rip current. He says we now have situations where business models that have been successful for many years are suddenly being disrupted by players nobody saw coming. And there are going to be more and more of these kinds of disruptive forces in the market as we move into the next wave of technologies. When you think about associations and learning, you need think about how to prepare people for these changes and how to adjust your product offerings quick enough in order to be responsive. This means there is a real need for nimbleness and agility, which is often a challenge for associations.
[09:19] – How do you see the relationship between content marketing and education? John explains that marketing has always been a “one to many” exercise but technology has now put the consumer of marketing messages in the driver’s seat, meaning you have to be much more responsive to the needs of the listener as opposed to the broadcaster. For AIIM, this has meant embracing content marketing, particularly inbound marketing. AIIM uses HubSpot for this, and it’s been pretty transformative in their business. The technology has allowed them to understand more about what people are interested in and their issues, and then try to adjust their product offerings, including their educational programs, to be responsive—so over time, the “one size fits all” approach disappears and you have many more markets of smaller pockets than you ever did before.
[11:07] – A further discussion about how AIIM is using a two-pronged approach—on the one hand, they’re able now to understand how people are interacting with their communications. They have 11 different technology clusters they look at on an ongoing basis and they score people’s interactions with those technology interests based on what they access. This scoring allows AIIM to communicate with those people on a much more segmented basis about the existing training offerings they have which match up against those technology sets. This communication flow also highlights the need to be much more focused on specific application areas and vertical industries the AIIM audience cares about. Over time, AIIM adjusts its product set to better target these high-interest areas.
[12:37] – This sounds fairly sophisticated – what type of staffing does it take to be able to track all of this? John points out that associations are expected to perform at Amazon-like levels when it comes to customer interaction and yet they’re pretty much all small businesses. With all the technology spilling over, even small associations are able to access tools they weren’t able to in the past.
[15:40] – How does AIIM think about its role as an education provider? Where do learning and education fit in with AIIM’s overarching mission and vision? John emphasizes that learning is really at the core of what they’re all about. Their basic approach is that information is your most important asset and you need to learn the skills to manage it. AIIM does this in the learning environment in two ways—one is they provide “deep-dive” courses in specific technology areas where they recognize people’s completion through a certificate program. They also realized there was a need for a body of knowledge that cut across all those “deep-dive” disciplines so they embarked on creating an actual formal certification against that called the Certified Information Professional (CIP) Program. John adds that every organization faces the challenge of becoming a digital organization and most have focused more on the data side of the equation rather than the information side of the equation but AIIM now up to about 1,200 CIP’s.
[18:12] – Did that CIP sort of open up a slightly different market for you? John shares there was an interest amongst the existing constituency, particularly folks who wanted a formal certification. However, there was also a broader constituency out there they have been able to reach and he predicts their market will broaden even more in the next few years because, ultimately information becomes a data plus content play.
[20:10] – What do you see as the major opportunities and threats for AIIM—and maybe associations in general—particularly as a provider of lifelong learning? John shares that the challenges perhaps all associations are facing are related to:
- The traditional places that we put up tollbooths in order to collect enough revenue to sustain are changing a lot because of the Web–that the question of who pays and what they pay for is an ongoing challenge
- The creation and delivery of their learning and training programs (John references an experience he had creating a course for Lynda.com and how he wishes LinkedIn was more receptive to associations then they are)
[23:33] – So what is the answer for associations or AIIM? Are there certain areas that you should let the competition handle and instead focus on something else? John explains there are a lot of different elements of the traditional association model that have wound up having a lot of pressure on them as we move forward. We used to be able to put a tollbooth around membership and content restricted to members but drawing those lines becomes increasingly difficult because everybody expects everything to be free. The other problem is that many of us have chapter models that have been the source of a lot of education that is done at the local level in organizations. Many of those chapter models are archaic and dated so we need to think about new models that are more flexible. He points out that in this market there are still opportunities for significant revenues in three areas:
- a killer certification in a learning area (particularly if it’s something mandated by a profession)
- a killer event you can leverage a lot of other things off of,
- or a killer legislative issue that everybody feels they have to band together around.
Most organizations don’t have one of those three things so it becomes a very challenging environment moving forward.
[26:50] – What’s going on in learning these days that most excites you? This could be an exciting initiative at AIIM or a trend or development that excites you. John says it is such an exciting environment when it comes to availability of learning resources—things such as MOOC’s and the way universities are changing the way they deliver education and training are particularly exciting from a consumer perspective, although they can present a challenge for associations. Essentially, there are more opportunities for learning than ever existed before.
[28:43] – How do you approach your own lifelong learning? John first shares what he would like to do related to this—every week he’d like to spend one hour a week on individual and personal professional development because you have to keep current in order to stay relevant. What he actually does is use Twitter and LinkedIn as a screen to highlight resources that he wants to consume. He also tries to periodically dip into YouTube and the LinkedIn courses as well as attend in-person events where the emphasis is on engaging, personal, connective experiences as opposed to wondering around looking at exhibits.
[33:15] – How to connect with John and/or AIIM:
- Website: https://www.aiim.org/ – John recommends specifically taking a look at their training and education programs
- John’s Blog – Digital Landfill
- Twitter – @jmancini77
- LinkedIn – https://www.linkedin.com/in/jmancini77/
- Email – firstname.lastname@example.org
[34:49] – Wrap Up
Thanks again to YourMembership for sponsoring this episode of the Leading Learning podcast.
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[36:17] – Sign off