Having just returned from the 2019 AIIM show in beautiful San Diego, I found AIIM’s conference messaging of Digital Transformation through the overarching theme of “Customer Experience” spot on. Unfortunately, most of the vendors exhibiting hadn’t jumped on that bandwagon with their messaging and were still promoting the back-office functionality of their technology.

Peggy Winton, the President of AIIM gave a moving Key Note address on the first day, not only on the changes in the industry, but within the AIIM organization itself. She also emphasized the Association’s redefinition of the AIIM Acronym. The New representation emphasized being the Association of Intelligent Information Management. This was very much in keeping with the industry’s struggles to redefine itself, starting with Gartner’s declaration of ECM being dead and the birth of content services. I believe that Gartner’s declaration from last year formed the basis for AIIM’s new focus on three areas of the business as well as a new landmark graphic to describe Content Services, Process Services and Analytic Services.

She also shared what I considered to be the best quote of the show by Amitabh Srivastav, which highlights the value of information: “If the organization treats the information as an asset, similar to other corporate assets, then the risk is either not utilizing the asset to its maximum value and reap it’s benefit, or the risk of loosing the asset and therefore it’s value to the organization”.

The Keynote on the second day, given by Blake Morgan, was totally centered on the Customer Experience. Blake gave a lively presentation illustrating the importance of utilizing the customer to shape all of its technology decisions. It also illustrated the success companies like Sephora and Netfix have had in revolutionizing their industries by understanding their customers and building their businesses around the customer experience.

Most of the major industry leaders were there featuring their long-standing content services solutions along with Microsoft who oddly enough featured Office 365. There were also a number of companies featuring Robotic Process Automation and Artificial Intelligence as well as data privacy and regulatory compliance. Two companies that stood out to me were ABBYY, who featured their new “Content IQ” positioning and an interesting start-up competing with MS Office 365 named OnlyOffice. Both companies put a new and interesting twist on existing technology.

I think what amazed me most, was my conversations with the attendees who had little knowledge of what the vendors were offering and how the technology has advanced. Few if any were aware of RPA, intelligent capture or what role AI now plays in business processes. This led me to believe there is ample room for better marketing, strategy, positioning and messaging on behalf of the industry and the vendors as a whole.

Michael Burzynski

Managing Partner & Founder

UNDRSTND Group