Why I Hate IT…

What follows is one of my post that was recently published on AIIM’s site as an “Expert Blogger”. (The original can be read here)

———————————————————————–

 Why I Hate IT…

I hate IT, I hate IT, I hate IT. In fact, I cringe every time I hear IT. 

What am I talking about? I’m talking about the acronym “I.T.” IT stands for Information Technology. But I guess you already knew that.

And why do I hate it? I never used to, but as the years have passed, I’ve started having an aversion to the term.

I used to be one, you know. An IT’er. And was proud of the fact. I used to imagine the office girls swooning as I walked past with my box of disks, and, maybe a large manual on the intricacies of printers (or similar). That was in the early days. 

Then I got a job where they wanted to call me an “Application Specialist”. An “Application Specialist”! Can you imagine?! That was a title for someone who wasn’t really an IT’er. They might as well have asked me to dress in frilly pink. 

But – OK – it was a job, and, most of the time, I was…begrudgingly…an ”Application Specialist”, but whenever I got a chance – I was “IT Guy”! I was in charge of the network! With a mere wave of my hand I could enable (or disable) functionality. I was the one who could implement new bizarre network policies (for the good of mankind, naturally), and it was I who held the power to apply patches, and fixes, whenever I deemed it necessary. (Bwahahaa)

Fast forward a couple of years, and I have a new position.  I’m now actually working “with” the business users. I have to “listen”, and then provide a suitable solution. If something needs changing I need to seek their permission, to “justify” it. I can’t just go making changes because I “think” that the changes are “cool”, or will “help” the users. They are the “actual” owners of the system. I am just a custodian. 

I didn’t give this any thought, but then, one day, after I had been working with a different department, doing requirements gathering, and helping “them” solve their issues, I overheard someone say “Mark is our favourite IT person”. And I cringed.

You see – I no longer consider myself involved with the “Technology”. I now saw myself as a generalist that “understood” technology, but also understood the business users, as well as the business processes, and was able to “use” technology in a way that was relevant.

And, while I was working through the preparatory material for the CIP examination, it dawned on me – there was nothing on the “technology”. There was only material on how to use the technology. 

So, after a long-winded explanation, I hope you understand, now, why I hate IT.

Re-categorizing

As I have mentioned in earlier posts (see below for a list), I like the way that AIIM’s Certified Information Professional certification captures the broad knowledge and skills that an Information Professional needs to have.

If you look at AIIM’s page on the CIP, you’ll see that everything has been grouped into “Knowledge Domains“.

I’ve decided, (in a loose fashion), to use these “Knowledge domains” as categories for my posts. I will make them sub-categories under a “parent” category of “Information management“. (I’ve highlighted the ones that I am going to start using straight away.)

I’ll go through my posts (226 so far!) and re-categorize where appropriate.

You’ll can see the categories either in the top navigation menu (running across the page), or in the Categories drop down menu that can be viewed at the side of the page (when you click “Home”, or at the bottom of the page (when viewing each post individually.)

Return to…CIP Land

What follows is one of my post that was recently published on AIIM’s site as an “Expert Blogger”. (The original can be read here)

———————————————————————–

Return to…CIP Land

In my last post I talked about that recently discovered, and charted, land called “CIP Land“.

When I originally started writing that post, I had a vision of an island where each knowledge domain” represented a part of the island, which further contained representations of the “sub-domains”.

And, that’s when I drew the “map” that can be seen in that last post.

However, after I had written the post I realized that this “CIP land” was not an island.

An island, by definition, is not a continuous landmass, and is surrounded by water. With an island, there is no connection with other islands or, for that matter, with other countries (especially if you looked at the map I drew). It is separate from everything else.

This was very, very wrong.

The whole idea of an Information Professional, as defined by the CIP certification is, (and as Jesse Wilkins described it in his post “Are you T-shaped?“), someone who has a good, broad, knowledge of the different territories (knowledge domains), someone who has travelled the highways of the land, and knows enough to be able to get around each territory without the use of GPS, or SatNav.

They know enough about the customs of each territory, city, or village that they can communicate and interact, easily, with the locals of each area. If they need more in-depth local knowledge, they can hire a guide, but they have enough knowledge that they can see how each city, town, or village, interacts with the others.

They can see the “big picture”.

But the whole idea behind this, is that CIP Land is isolated.

And this is wrong, because CIP land is not isolated. It makes up part of a “global” environment. It interacts with other “lands”.

Think of it as a landlocked country in a continent made up of multiple countries (Europe for example). It takes advantages of its local talent, and specialized knowledge, but it interacts with the other countries. It requires them for services, and resources, that it doesn’t have. Just as the other countries, in turn, require the local skills and resources that it can provide.

So, from this, you can see that “CIP Land” is not an island. It’s a country. A country Political Map of Austria - Map of Austria, Europesurrounded by other countries.

Information Management can’t exist without databases, without networks, without hard drives, or storage areas. Hell, if CIP Land was an island, my friend, we wouldn’t exist for long.

Clearly my map of “CIP Island” needs to be redrawn…

CIP Land

What follows is one of my posts that was recently published on AIIM’s site as an “Expert Blogger”. (The original can be read here)

———————————————————————–

The CIP Land

I’ve been working my way through the excellent CIP exam preparatory videos on the AIIM site. (These were prepared by Steve Weissman, and the Holly Group, and are very impressive.)

As I went from one “Knowledge Domain” to another I started realizing what it is that I like about the CIP. It’s that it creates a boundary.

What do I mean by this?

Well – think of your “Information Professional” as someone living in a village. A village called “Content Management”. They do their job, and do it well. They’re not aware of the fact that beyond their own village lies a whole world. Then the person travels. Maybe they have to visit another area for their work, or they see people from other areas visiting, and decide to go exploring. In any case, they get to see new sights, or learn new things. The world, for them, however, is still uncharted.

I have lived in this land, and I also only knew of only a few areas. Gradually, however I have travelled and seen new things.

At one point I started actively seeking out other residents. We all seemed to talk a common language, but each person had their own “regional” vernacular, or way of saying things. Each had their own experience and knowledge based on the areas where they were living. We learnt from each other.

The land we lived on was still uncharted. It had no boundary, or borders. No-one knew where it started or stopped, or what places made up the land.

The CIP however, defines what knowledge an Information Professional should have. It creates a map of that land. And it appears that it is an island in a sea of other similar islands. All interacting together.

Looking at the map, I have come to realize that this collection of experiences and knowledge that I have from my many trips through different areas all fits into a big picture.

And that is what I like about the CIP. I now can look at it, and get an idea of the various places that make up this world.

I know which areas I need to revisit, or spend more time in, to give myself a more rounded set of knowledge and skills to be able to call myself an Information Professional.