The Canadian Advanced Technology Alliance is increasing the number of IT users in its ranks by merging with a body that represents 5,000 e-content experts.

The e-Content Institute,

based in Toronto, is made up of Canadian professionals working with knowledge management, document management, content management, business intelligence and e-learning. The group will continue to operate out of Toronto, but have access to the resources of CATA, a much larger industry group based in Ottawa.

“(Our members) can be part of the greater IT community and find strategic partners within the CATA Alliance,” said David Shinwell, president of the e-Content Institute.

CATA, which has more than 50,000 members, conducts research and outreach programs that would be of relevance to e-content professionals, said Shinwell. The organization’s work on outsourcing, for example, “may not directly affect our members but is important to our members. We could never offer that level of knowledge of expertise to our members, even though it is something that is probably critical to them,” he said.

“Wireless is a pretty big topic for our members because they’re the creators and deliverers of content, but it’s hard for us, within the institute, to become experts on those topics,” he added.

The e-Content Institute surveyed its members recently, and discovered that they would like to see more market research and industry benchmarks. CATA can provide those things, said Shinwell, and also provide the institute the wherewithal to conduct its own targeted research.

The addition of users to the CATA ranks may help accelerate product development and commercialization by encouraging relationships with vendors, said CATA vice-president Barry Gander.

“If you can plug the users into the producer communities and the kinds of meetings and seminars and surveys and market research that we do, then our producers will have a chance to get their products to market faster,” he said.

CATA’s existing members will also have access to the pool of knowledge that e-content experts bring to the organization.

“They know what systems are to be used, what data flow is all about, how information should be managed and manipulated to be managed for corporations, so it’s an absolutely perfect fit,” said Gander.

CATA has broadened its reach recently by welcoming other organizations to its ranks. Just last month, the alliance merged with the Innovation Management Association of Canada, a group dedicated to R&D and funding opportunities.

“It doesn’t mean that we’re on an acquisition spree, but it does mean that we have learned very well our lessons of the past three years or so of dealing with other organizations as equals,” said Gander. “Sometimes when you do that the other organizations can see a tighter association is better for them.”

Gander said CATA would consider merging with other groups and is in discussions with several.

Comment: info@itbusiness.ca

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