Denise Carter, DCision Consult
I’ve just spent part of my Sunday afternoon sitting in the garden in the sunshine reading a book about conducting systematic reviews, an exercise I did for pleasure and which I enjoyed because a) I joined the dots on a few separate pieces of information I already knew and b) I learnt new things.
After just over thirty years of working in information I’m happy to say to that I still find information as interesting today as I did when I started out, and I still love learning more. That’s why I find it also such a pleasure to conduct the primary interviews for the Annual Business Information Survey. The overwhelming majority of the interviewees have been working for more than a few years for their organisations, and I am continually struck by their continued enthusiasm both for their current roles but also for the wider knowledge and information disciplines. That is a truism across all the different industries.
I have seen myself when I was an information manager for a pharmaceutical company, in an industry where staff turnover was particularly high it was certainly true that in our company those working in information roles were all long-serving employees – 15-20 years being a good average. Information was not high on the organisation agenda – when our company was acquired by another the information units were not assigned to any of the acquisition work streams that were deemed critical by the senior management to ensure that the company remain efficient during the acquisition process. What I saw however was all of us with information roles who already had developed an informal working relationship in our original company, join together and take the initiative to reach out to our counterparts in the new organisation and propose solutions to issues the company had failed to recognise, and also to start to explore the new organisation and understand the new opportunities that may provide us. I also witnessed people on much higher pay grades than myself and my colleagues halt projects, delay decisions because “no-one had told them what they should do” because their reporting structures were disrupted and they were temporarily without a “boss”.
Conducting the interviews I see very clearly that commitment to the organisation and the strategic objectives of the organisation is common across all information professionals. They are completely committed to the work they do, convinced of it’s value and full of creative ideas of what else they could add or do.
One of the interviewees in this year’s survey spoke of the particular challenge of a corporate merger and the company splitting into three business strands, and the potential concern that their team may get assigned to one strand only rather than providing a service to the whole organisation. They wanted to make sure they remained central to the activities and but knew they wouldn’t get any more resources but their answer was simply to “get on with it and do it”.
The 2017 Business Information Survey contains many such examples of the dedication and professionalism of the information professional. We as a profession need to get better at letting people know how great we are. I’m hoping this year’s survey is a contribution to that effort.