I'm about to attend day three of the AIIM Conference. Each year I come to the same conclusion and each year I forget it; I figure this year I'll write it down in a blog post so I won't forget it for next year. The conclusion is: attending the AIIM Conference is a great way to be hit between the eyes with the wide spectrum of knowledge and quality in the content and collaboration space--from cutting-edge vendor demos, to presenters with great insights, to presenters just pitching their wares, to newbie attendees who aren't even sure what "content management" means.
I'll start with the last part. On Tuesday I was joined at the lunch table by two fellows who were just looking for a place to eat--open chairs were few and far between in the Food Court. We got talking, and when they realized I was an industry analyst, they couldn't believe their good fortune, because they had tons of questions:
- "I've heard people use the term 'damn'--what does that mean?" "Ah, they're saying 'DAM,' which stands for 'digital asset management'--those are systems that manage rich media, such as videos and big images."
- "How is SharePoint different from Documentum?" "Documentum is a longtime best-of-breed document management system that helps departments manage really valuable documents. SharePoint is a less-expensive, 'fill in the gaps' collaboration and content management system that helps enterprises track the more mundane, everyday memos."
They must have peppered me with questions for half an hour; a somewhat sobering thought, given that the AIIM Conference is full of attendees who have been doing content management for years. It's worthwhile remembering that those battle-hardened veterans are counterbalanced by those who are just starting out.
Then there's the presentations, which run the gamut. I attended one entitled, "Build Smarter Internal and External Communities via Social Networking Methodologies and Technologies," which was basically a rehash of a five-year-old presentation and ended with, "Please join my network." Not very insightful, and high on the self-promotion quotient. I attended one entitled, "The Future of Text Analytics" given by a Distinguished Engineer from IBM, and he spent most of the time talking about personalization and web analytics. Interesting, but not what I was looking for. On the other hand, I also saw one on implementing a taxonomy at The Hartford Insurance Group, and it was great--full of useful war stories.
Each year I hope the AIIM Conference will be full of only highs--but seeing the gamut of highs and lows can be educational as well.