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KNOWLEDGE TRANSFER SERIES : New chairman discusses AIIM's future

David Silver, CEO of Kofax Image Products (www.kofax.com), assumed the position of chairman of the AIIM Board of Directors during the AIIM Show. KMWorld Executive Editor Bruce Hoard took the opportunity to ask him about the most important issues facing AIIM, and how he hopes to resolve them.

Q: What's your top priority as you move into your new position?

About 18 months ago, we started putting into place an agenda at AIIM. The three top priorities include shifting the focus of the association toward what we're calling corporate membership. We want to recruit into the association companies and institutions rather than focus so much on vendors and individuals. By companies, I mean Ford Motor Company or Citibank, and by institutions, I mean universities, government agencies, those kinds of things.

Q: How is that effort going ?

It's going pretty well. One of the big distinctions compared with the past at AIIM is it's been a proactive effort. John Mancini has built a small sales force within AIIM--I think there are three or four people who have broken the country up by regions and have goals in terms of numbers of companies and institutions to recruit, and they are proactively recruiting them. In the past, with regards to the vendors and individuals, the association waited for them to come to us. We established a three-year goal of having 1,500 companies and 20,000 individuals. In the case of the companies, we were starting practically from scratch; in the case of the individuals, we were starting with somewhere between 8,000 and 9,000 members. We're somewhere in the area of 150 to 250 of these companies and institutions that we've recruited. That number might be higher now.

Q: What are the other two priorities?

The second priority I would call globalization or internationalization. There, the idea was to make the association an international association rather than a U.S. or North America association. The benefit of doing that, is to make it easier for U.S. companies, particularly smaller vendors who are part of the association, to do business in Europe, Latin America and the Pacific Rim. Also, and maybe as importantly, to make it easier for document management companies in those areas to do business here in North America, which I think they've really struggled with.

We've set up our own presence in Europe. There are about six AIIM employees, primarily working out of an office in London now, and they have been establishing affiliations with other organizations that are directly or tangentially involved with information, document and image management, as well as knowledge management.

We also wanted to restructure ourselves from a governance point of view. The way AIIM is set up now, it's managed and centralized here in the states through the board of directors. We redesigned the structure, which will result in a board of directors in Europe, a board of directors here in the states, a board of directors eventually in Latin America and the Pacific Rim, all of which will have a fair amount of autonomy.

Another part of globalization involves serious discussions we've been having with the IMC organization to work much more closely together toward the goal of working as a single organization, rather than competing with them.

Q: That brings us to the third overall priority?

The third priority is to leverage our unique claim as the only association and show that's focused on information and knowledge management. AIIM has evolved over the past 15 years from records management to image management to process management and then to electronic documents. The whole world, as a result of what's going on with the Internet, is having this kind of revolution in the availability of massive amounts of information and the requirements to manage better or archive better those massive amounts of information. It seems like it's an extraordinary opportunity for us. Either all of that stuff is going to come in our direction as an association and a show, or we're going to lose it to something else.

(Look for Part II in an upcoming issue.)

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