A new whitepaper by AIIM identifies a high demand for qualified information professionals who have a combination of business experience and a broad base of general IT skills, but who also understand how to manage content and information lifecycles.
According to the report ‘Career Development for Information Professionals’, underwritten by Oracle, there is a recognition of the changes and challenges in technology at the moment, and a strong desire to update and broaden skill sets to meet the new demands.
The role of information professional is seen as vital to successful exploitation of mobile, social, big data and cloud technologies, and for many has become an aspirational mid-point between technical specialist and business generalist.
Currently, there is an optimistic view across all areas for employment in information management but the biggest change is a need for more information/data analysts and information architects, followed by project managers and business analysts. Taxonomy and metadata design, information architecture, standards compliance and governance were seen as the most difficult skills to find.
These technology changes present individuals with the opportunity to increase their value to their current organisation, although 37 percent of respondents are expecting to move to new jobs within the next two years. A higher salary is the most prevalent motivation to change, but 22 percent of respondents rank an opportunity to work with different technologies as more important than better promotion prospects.
The most popular step to developing skills was identified as certification, with 43 percent reporting to hold two or more business or technical certifications. AIIM’s training qualification is held by 22 percent and four percent have already passed the recently introduced Certified Information Professional (CIP) exam. Respondents identified the information professional role as the most important to the future health of business, with 30 percent considering themselves information professionals.
“AIIM first picked up on the role of the information professional at the end of 2011, and in just over a year the majority of individuals working in the content area are aspiring to that role,” said Doug Miles, director of market intelligence at AIIM. “There is general agreement that improved information competency results in increased productivity, better decision making and improved collaboration, but the real challenge is that IT experience is struggling to keep up with the rapid changes in business. That’s where AIIM can help.”
Recruiters in the survey see ideal candidates as having an understanding of the business, as well as knowledge of the cloud, social and big data analytics. In general, certifications are acknowledged as a more up-to-date indicator of competence than college qualifications, which underscores the value of business experience.
According to Christian Finn, senior director, Product Management, Oracle: “The increasing importance of analytics, big data, cloud, customer experience, mobile and social has created a need for a new kind of information professional. People who have the skills to tackle rapidly evolving business challenges through an understanding of these technologies will have a distinct advantage moving forward.
“Building knowledge and validating skill sets through a range of training and certifications, including the new CIP, can be a critical component of success for today’s information professionals, whether they are looking for a new job or trying to help their organisation achieve its goals.”
The paper suggests there is a real opportunity for knowledgeable, qualified information professionals who can reconcile the advantages of cloud, mobile, social and big data technology with compliance and security risks. They can raise their value to the business by delivering improvements in business process, employee collaboration and customer engagement. For individuals looking to evolve into sought-after information professionals AIIM recommends:
- Stay aware of changes in the IT landscape: information professionals are valued for a combination of known skills, business understanding and ability to match new technology to business opportunities
- Recognise that your salary and career prospects reflect current value, not past value, and take every opportunity to demonstrate new skills and champion potential business benefits of new technologies
- Keep your skills up to date and seek information professional certification to validate your knowledge of how information competence enhances business value, limits risk and reduces process costs.