Author Archives: luketredinnick

Horizon scanning – the sixth theme from this year’s annual survey

What’s coming over the horizon for the information and knowledge management profession? Our final look at themes emerging in this year’s Business Information Review Annual Survey focusses on horizon scanning.

The BIR annual survey is the world’s longest running survey into business information management. For over twenty-five years the survey has tracked changes to the profession including the growth of online, the rise of the web and the emergence of knowledge management. This year the survey is bigger and more comprehensive than ever, combining in-depth interviews with a wider survey.  Due for publication in September 2017 issue of Business Information Review, the survey has become an invaluable guide to sector trends and developments.

As well as keeping you up-to-date with emerging trends in the sector, at Business Information Review we aim to look ahead at what is around the next corner. Over the last couple of years we have covered issues as diverse a Brexit, information security, artificial intelligence, and the general data protection regulations, all of which threaten significant change in the sector over the next decade.

These are some of the topics that we think are on the horizon, but what kinds of issues emerged in the BIR survey? As a part of the survey we asked about the issues that are on the horizon of the information profession. A range of issues feature in the responses across the sector, some of which were familiar, and some of which were surprising. Find out more in September’s Business Information Review.

Keeping up-to-date with professional trends

The BIR annual survey is the world’s longest running survey into business information management. For over twenty-five years the survey has tracked changes to the profession including the growth of online, the rise of the web and the emergence of knowledge management. This year the survey is bigger and more comprehensive than ever. Due for publication in September 2017 issue of Business Information Review, the survey has become an invaluable guide to sector trends and developments. It is ironic then that the fifth theme that emerges from this year’s BIR Annual Survey is the challenge of keeping up-to-date with changing professional trends and developments.

The aim of Business Information Review as a professional and academic journal is of course to help information and knowledge management professionals in the commercial sector to stay up-to-date with emerging trends in both professional practice and the wider business and information environments, and to encourage the pursuit of evidence-based practice in the business information sector. The very existence of this journal might be thought of as an attempt to address the longstanding challenge of staying up-to-date and relevant in the face of rapidly changing contexts in the information world. Business Information Review is not the only publication that has this aim; a whole body of professional and academic literature exists that contribute to contemporary professional practice. And this is the tip of a very large iceberg. An industry of professional information events including conferences, training, and networking events, and wider business and corporate publications and events all aim to help us stay ahead of the game.

But whatever the good intentions of everyone involved in these activities, how helpful are they? What kinds of ways do information professionals stay-up-to-date in their professional practice? What do they find most useful? More importantly, how should you be doing it? These questions emerge as a strong theme in this year’s survey, and the answers to them will be published in September’s issue of Business Information Review.

Emerging skills sets – the fourth theme from our survey this year

Our fourth theme from this year’s Annual Survey is a perennial issue for the information and knowledge management industry: how do you ensure you have the right skills sets, and how do you ensure that the right skills sets are deployed. Over the past thirty years, as digital technology has come to dominate information work in a range of different sectors, the kinds of skills that contribute to professional competency has invariably migrated. At the same time, a large part of what was once considered core professional knowledge has declined in importance, or mutated into different forms. Bibliography, classification and indexing for example may have found new leases of life in resource description and information architecture; nevertheless the changing contexts of some of these newly repurposed professional skills sets require different ways of thinking about the task at hand, its purpose, and how it fits with the wider organisational context.

Information work in the commercial sector is rarely just about core professional knowledge and core professional skills; in the commercial sector information and knowledge professionals are  embedded within other professional contexts that makes professional identity more of a hybrid affair – accounting; finance; banking; pharmaceuticals; law and so on. As we have seen in previous years, of value are often not information skills per se but the ability to integrate those skills within a corporate context by adopting a commercial mind-set and flexible practice. As digital technologies continue to automate key elements of the professions and commerce, employees gain value in those abilities that they bring which cannot be automated.

This year’s survey explores these questions, examining what kinds of skills are emergent in the sector, and how those skills are deployed to add value to information services, and improve organisational effectiveness.

Staying Fresh – putting Learning at the heart of everything we do

Author: Ceri Hughes, Head of Knowledge Centre of Excellence at KPMG in the UK

(Please note this post contains the personal views of the author)

Recently, I’ve had the opportunity to review my role and responsibilities at work. We’ve aligned our Learning and Knowledge functions into one group with the aim of protecting and enhancing quality, improving the retention of our knowledge and enabling the continuous process of acquiring knowledge, skills and confidence to improve current and future business performance.  Our new Learning function reflects the traditional elements of a learning value chain: we have Business Learning Partners; a Learning Design team; we deploy Learning Programmes and measure success through our Analytics team. But our structure is underpinned by three centres of excellence: a centre for professional qualifications and accreditation; a Coaching centre of excellence; and one for Knowledge, which includes all activities in support of knowledge management, research, competitive intelligence and collaborative working.  We’ve ramped up the focus of our knowledge strategy on how we assist with accelerating time to competence – learning on the job – and providing immediacy of knowledge, such as access to the latest insights and intelligence to ensure our colleagues have the most informed conversations with our clients.

It’s been a timely reminder for me to review my own learning and development needs and think about the technical and enabling skills that will benefit me in my role and in my new organisational home. I am guilty of neglecting my personal development somewhat. It’s ironic that I diligently review personal development plans for my team members and try to help them find the time and space to be able to learn on the job and accommodate more formal learning interventions, but I don’t prioritise this for myself at all! Stopping to take stock of this has been an eye-opener. It’s been a few years since I last attended a formal training course. Making time for networking events – which I eagerly fitted into my schedule earlier in my career – has now fallen way down my to-do list; and even though I keep a close eye on the professional press and blogosphere, and bookmark all of the articles and posts that I think sound interesting, relevant or thought-provoking, my reading pile (virtual and that teetering on the side of my desk) isn’t getting any smaller.

So, inspired by an increased workplace focus on the world of learning and professional development, I am actively seeking opportunities to learn. Signing up for a few well-chosen networking events has been an easy way to find out what issues are on the radar of other organisations and learn how they are approaching challenges that we share. It’s also been really rewarding to reconnect with old friends and colleagues. I find myself inspired and motivated on hearing how they are thinking about the challenge and opportunity of increased automation and AI; thinking about the importance of legitimacy and authenticity of information and knowledge in a world of fake news; ensuring robust information protection and governance; and the most tactical issue on my mind at the moment – a SharePoint upgrade.

Interestingly, as I’ve chatted to peers in the information industry, it seems that my neglect of my development resonated with others too! Perhaps it’s true that the longer we stay in our profession the less time we spend on developing ourselves. The real truth is, of course, that since we are constantly bombarded by technological advancements, new legislation and regulation, an increasingly sophisticated and demanding customer base and other external and internal influences or pressures (such as the need to stay ahead of the competition or constantly reduce cost and increase efficiency) developing ourselves as individuals is critical for our own success. It’s also vital for the development of the disciplines of the information profession to which we belong. We can learn from each other, sharing innovations and ideas.  If you’re in the same place that I found myself recently, please see this as a call to action to consider your personal learning and development plan. I’d love to inspire each other with ideas on how to do this, so please share your experiences in your comments.

Best Paper Prize 2017: second runner-up

Each year Business Information Review awards a prize for the best paper published over the course of the previous year. The best paper prize reflects the pinnacle of research and professional scholarship in the business information sector. Last years winners, Théresé Ahern and Jacqueline Beattie won for their paper, Embedding Library and Information Management Techniques into Business Processes: a case study, which explored the experiences of embedding librarianship and integrating the working practices and skills of the content management team with corporate workflows and processes.

This year the Editors and Editorial board have decided to recognise three papers: the best paper prize winner and two highly commended runners-up. This reflects the quality of many of the papers published over the year, and the tough competition for the best paper prize. We’ll be announcing all three papers over the coming months on this blog and in the June issue of Business Information Reviews, and all three will be available for a short period of time to download for free via this blog.

Today we are announcing the second runner-up of the Business Information Review best paper prize 2017. The second runner-up is Danny Budzak, for his paper: Information Security: The People Issue. Like our previous runner-up for the BIR best paper prize, Danny’s paper was featured in our Information Security themed issue published in June 2017. It examines the information security issues raised by the involvement of people with information systems, setting out both the threats to information systems and the risks associated with information systems, before addressing the mitigation of those threats through managing roles, responsibilities, relationships and training.

Danny Budzak’s article will be available to download for free for a short time from the link below. If you have not already read it, download it while you can; if you have already read it we recommend a second look. Meanwhile the winner of the 2017 best paper prize will be announced in the June 2017 issue of Business Information Review, and on this blog when the June issue is published.

Best Paper Prize 2017: first runner-up

Each year Business Information Review awards a prize for the best paper published over the course of the previous year. The best paper prize reflects the pinnacle of research and professional scholarship in the business information sector. Last years winners, Théresé Ahern and Jacqueline Beattie won for their paper, Embedding Library and Information Management Techniques into Business Processes: a case study, which explored the experiences of embedding librarianship and integrating the working practices and skills of the content management team with corporate workflows and processes.

This year the Editors and Editorial board have decided to recognise three papers: the best paper prize winner and two highly commended runners-up. This reflects the quality of many of the papers published over the year, and the tough competition for the best paper prize. We’ll be announcing all three papers over the coming months on this blog and in the June issue of Business Information Reviews, and all three will be available for a short period of time to download for free via this blog.

Today we are announcing the first runner-up of the Business Information Review best paper prize 2017. The first runner-up for 2017 is Nick Wilding for his paper Cyber Resilience: how important is your reputation: How effective are your people?. Nick’s paper was published in the June 2016 issue of the journal as a part of our themed issue on information security and risk. It argued that information professionals need to move beyond a concept of cyber-security toward cyber resilience, and addressed how organisations can approach preventing, detecting, responding to and recovering from cyber-attacks while minimising damage to reputation and competitive advantage. Nick’s article was very highly ranked by the Editorial Board of Business Information Review, and is essential reading for anyone involved in information security issues. Congratulations to Nick for a fantastic contribution not only to the journal but to the professional literature.

Nick Wilding’s article we be available to download for free for a short time from the link below. If you have not already read it, download it while you can; if you have already read it we recommend a second look. Meanwhile the second of our runners up will be announced here in a few weeks’ time.

Access the article for free here

The General

Author: Stephen Phillips, Executive Director Morgan Stanley and BIS Editorial Board Member

Please note this post contains the personal views of the author and are not connected with his employer

I am a fan of 1960s and 1970s British science fiction TV series.  The forerunners of today’s boxed sets and the binge habits they engender, these productions reflect a simpler but no less sinister, dystopian view of the world.  I used to be somewhat embarrassed by my viewing choices, but recent events in the UK suggest I am not the only nostalgic person with a hankering to go back 40+ years to relive those halcyon days!

One particular favourite is The Prisoner, which is being rerun on one of the myriad of satellite channels.  I recently found myself watching Episode 6: “The General”, which concerns a new technology with mind altering education capabilities; teaching a three year degree course in 3 minutes via television, an early form of product placement or a new spin on information literacy perhaps?

Number 6 (the main character) believes the technology may be used for mind control and discovers “The General” to be a sophisticated super computer that can answer any question.  Number 6, determined to sabotage it asks” The General” a question it cannot answer; typed on a keyboard to produce a punched card which is then fed into a slot in the computer: the preferred GUI of the day!  The computer starts to smoke and shake as it overloads before exploding and killing the bad guys.  “What was the question?” asks Number 2, “Why?” responds Number 6.

Clearly there are many parallels with the recent emergence of super computers, AI and robotics; but not natural language programming which had not be foreseen in 1967!   However, I recount this episode for a different reason.  The reaction of “The General” was remarkably similar to that of information professionals at two recent conferences when I posed them the question: “Why do you exist?”

Having taken inspiration from Simon Sinek and his TED presentation, (https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=sioZd3AxmnE), website and book (https://www.startwithwhy.com/ ).  Sinek explains that, whilst we can all talk extensively about what we do and how we do it, the most successful people and organisations can articulate their “why”.

What is their “why”?  It is their purpose; the cause or belief that inspires them, allowing them to drive their business forward and appeal successfully to clients, sponsors and stakeholders?

Unfortunately, no one can tell you your Why, but I recommend you start to figure it out, and quickly.  Establishing a shared belief will galvanise you and your team with a common sense of purpose and mission.  Furthermore, if you align it with your organisations’ mission it enables your clients, sponsors and stakeholders to buy in and advocate for you.

Don’t forget,  your stakeholders do not need to know (and much less care) about what you do, and still less how you do it: that’s your job as a subject matter expert.  They do need to know Why you are there and how you will help the organisation deliver its goals.  It is critical you link your vision to your organisation’s goals, cascading that vision and the objectives to your colleagues to enable them to feel you all share the purpose.  They in turn can then link their individual objectives to those goals, thereby making them part of the whole organisation.

Unlike Number 6, we cannot cause the omnipresent (but not omniscient) super computer to go into meltdown or roll back the technology tide; but if you “magnify your mission” you will have a shared sense of purpose, understand where and how you fit in, how our contribution benefits your organisation and enable you to chart your strategy to ensure information professionals continue to create value for the future.

Privacy, Security and the crossover with Information Services

Author Tracy Maleeff, Sherpa Intelligence LLC and BIR Editorial Board Member

In the March 2017 issue of the Business Information Review, Paul Pedley wrote about the “Relevance of privacy for corporate library and information services.” I find myself in an interesting position in regards to the intersection of library and information services with information privacy and security. After enjoying library work for almost 15 years in a variety of settings, I decided to make a career move towards the information security industry. I suspected that librarians and information professionals have the skills to be integral to the security processes of an organization, and I keep finding opportunities to confirm this. Pedley’s article resonated with me because I’m essentially living in that intersection of LIS and security.

In the information security world, I often give talks, podcasts, and write about how security professionals can utilize principles from library and information science for their work. Given my unique perspective, I will share some insight on how library and information services professionals can be proactive to help their organizations with security. To compliment Paul Pedley’s article, I’ve rounded up three practical, every day security practices that can help librarians and information professionals become allies on the security front of their organizations.

Get to know the IT or security team at your organization. Before you try to execute any activities yourself, talk to the people within your organization who handle data privacy and information security matters. Find out what their pain points are and ask how your two departments can collaborate.

       Understand the basic vocabulary of security. Do you know what a DDoS is? How about an 0day? Do you know the differences between phishing, spear phishing, and whaling? You don’t need to know the technology behind these terms, but it can be helpful if you can have at least a basic understanding of the terminology used. Learning these terms can also help you do more comprehensive research for your clients or users. If you are asked to research a specific company and you see a headline with that company’s name and the letters DDoS in the headline, that’s important and you should understand how that affects the business. The National Institute of Standards and Technology has a glossary of terms. However, it is very technical, so for the less-technically inclined, utilize a resource like the National Cyber Security Alliance.

Passwords. Most libraries and on-site information professionals have a role in managing passwords for their users, as it pertains to databases and subscriptions that fall under the jurisdiction of the library. Many law firm libraries, for example, utilize enterprise electronic resource management software like Onelog. In addition to tracking usage, resources like that are also password managers. That is a great opportunity to encourage users to create long and strong passwords, and flag any duplicate usage. (Which, by the way, is a discourage password practice from a security standpoint.) Librarians and information professionals are too busy to become the “password police,” but they have a unique opportunity to help the security goals of the organization by being on the front lines of password defense when dealing with users.

I’m not suggesting that librarians and information professionals need to become security specialists, in addition to their primary jobs. What I’m advocating for is becoming security allies within organizations, be collaborative with the IT people, and learn some of the lingo in order to better service users or clients. Corporate and law firm libraries are often in a constant battle to justify their existence within an organization, to prove their value. Security and privacy issues are only going to be more prevalent. Librarians and information professionals have a unique position to gain a little bit of knowledge in this area in order to cement their position of value within an organization.