I arrived at the AIIM ’16 Conference here in New Orleans to be met by a bit of a storm (possibly in a tea cup but not sure just yet). John Mancini, long time President of AIIM, spokesperson for at least 2 full blown product/market lifecycles in the document related technologies world and one could argue maybe 5 or 6, has a new role. In transition from his role as leader of the industry’s long standing community organizer, John has established a new venture – www.johnmancini.org – apparently focused on sharing his deep knowledge of what it takes to communicate with an audience effectively through content marketing, public speaking and advisory type consulting. John is a true Subject Matter Expert and someone I have had the pleasure of working with over my many years in and around the Enterprise Content Management space. I have probably had as many conversations with John about the future of the digital content market as anyone and one thing I know for sure is that the absolute biggest problem is that it has a serious issue explaining to people what the heck it is that all the technology and solutions do! As a long time CMO in the ECM industry it has been a frustration for years that collectively we can’t do a better job of explaining what our value proposition is. As Ted Smith, founder of FileNet Corporation and the father of the whole industry, once said “We are product rich and marketing poor”, sadly that became a mantra for a whole industry for almost a generation.
If John Mancini, or anyone else for that matter, can help our industry explain itself better to each and every potential buyer in the market then good luck to him and anyone else who tries because I think we all know that is the biggest problem our industry has always faced.
In our early client engagements at UNDRSTND Group we have certainly found that understanding the intrinsic value proposition of the technology and then applying that effectively to drive growth is absolutely the #1 issue our clients face in building value in their businesses. I welcome John to the world of consultancy with open arms but I would also encourage AIIM and its Board of Directors not to be distracted by the perceived “competitiveness” of John’s new venture, there is lots to be done and it is going to take more than a few good men and women to drive the continued growth of the ECM industry as it takes account of the digital transformation opportunity that confronts it. We need AIIM to continue its good work of prior years and keep the community moving in the right direction!