Kathy Madison, Comtech Services

2017 marked a new era for CIDM which is now under the leadership of Dawn Stevens. Two new advisory council members, Jamie Roberts and Deb Roemer, joined existing members, Rebekka Andersen, Christopher Gales, Joe Gollner, Palmer Pearson and Chona Shumate to help make the 2017 conference season a huge success. In addition to our Content Management Strategies/DITA North America & DITA Europe, Best Practices and IDEAS online conferences, we added a new regional event called RIDE. We held 2 RIDE sessions in 2017, one in Silicon Valley, the other in Austin, Texas. The excitement level was up for all events allowing a total of 800 people from 26 countries to network and share ideas. We also hosted 16 complimentary CIDM sponsored webinars last year, providing an opportunity for both members and non-members to learn from industry experts.

The monthly manager round table discussions were well attended in 2017. We had several sessions dedicated to updating our Information Process Maturity Model (IPMM), those sessions included: change management, planning, quality assurance, budgeting & cost control, hiring & training, and information design. We wrapped up the year with two sessions on the use of subject manner experts and one on the rise and fall of the editor. Note, there was so much interest in the IPMM, that Comtech has added a new 2-day workshop on how to improve the level of your information process maturity; workshops are tentatively planned for July, October, and December.

Thirty-eight members participated in the annual CIDM benchmark study answering questions about how their organizations are structured. The results were presented at the Best Practices conference and also shared with members who couldn’t attend. We learned that 68% of participating members have a centralized information development team, 60% go through some reorganization every 2-5 years, and 44% are part of an engineering organization while 30% are part of customer support. And, on a positive note, 56% of members felt their information development teams are seen as important contributors to the success and reputation of their company!

Members have expressed great interest in having a one-easy way to interact with other members, to pose questions and share advise. We introduced a members-only forum on the CIDM website;, however, adoption has been slow at best. In 2018, we will make a bigger effort to increase usage of the forum. In the meantime, we’ve encouraged members to contact other members directly or to join our LinkedIn Groups. The LinkedIn CIDM group has ~3,400 members and the DITA Awareness group has almost 7,000.

CIDM membership continues to grow; we now have 109 corporate members (including vendor members) and 6 individual members. We believe the introduction of a multi-tiered membership program made joining CIDM more attractive. Membership is no longer tied to a department and its size, instead membership is based on the benefits you want to receive, with the most benefits available at the Platinum level. We also added flexability to conference passes, with all members getting a free pass to the Best Practices conference, Gold members receiving an additional pass for a conference of their choice, and Platinum members receiving two additional choice passes.

If you are not a member of CIDM, consider this comment from one of our existing members:
My team and I get great value from our CIDM membership and I’m able to demonstrate every year to my executive sponsor what we have learned and the contacts we have made through CIDM. Keep up the great work!

Visit our website to learn more about CIDM membership or feel free to contact me directly: kathy.madison@comtech-serv.com