Category Archives: Business Information Review

Rich communication, the third theme from our survey this year

Our third theme from this year’s Business Information Review survey of seasoned information and knowledge professionals continues on from the second theme of communicating value.  The third theme is about communication methods to reach the right / different audiences in organisations.  In my last post I touched on the way that it is important to use different communication methods depending on the people involved.  Culture, personalities and past experiences all have an impact on what communication method is going to be effective and successful.

Information and knowledge teams are well aware of the need to meet their customer’s expectations when providing value.  Effective communication in order to understand requirements and set expectations on what an information service can realistically provide is of great importance in ensuring that both full use is made of the service and value is provided. Stakeholder management and in particular stakeholder mapping can really help looking in detail at both those who use the service and those who have an impact on what the service can provide in terms of resources.  Stakeholder mapping will help identify all of those impacting on or using the service no matter how obscure.  Understanding their perspectives, needs and goals can help identify the most effective communication methods to use.  For example communicating with a busy executive that makes key decisions on resource allocation and funding is very different from communicating with team utilizing the service. Demonstrations and presentations may be effective for some end users but not everyone has the same learning style.  Understanding these aspects amongst others in your stakeholder group will help build and deploy an effective communication strategy.

Richness of communication appears as very important in this years survey.  Whilst electronic communications can help reach wider audiences, an ability to use a richer medium can provide a greater impact and an ability to build up more effective relationships.

Discover how face to face communications and relationship building amongst other rich communication methods have helped our survey participants reach the right/different audiences successfully in our survey report published in September’s issue.

 

Business Information Review Survey part 2 – Communicating Value

Successful strategies employed for measuring and communicating value (up, down and across organisations) is the second theme our survey has uncovered this year.  It follows on from the importance of demonstrating value and is a key step in ensuring that value is positively impactful on the organization.  It is well known that in the fight for funding to maintain information surveys and continue knowledge sharing projects the information and  knowledge team must be able to show value to the organization.  In the past this has been a need to provide return on investment proof however, as we have seen from our first theme, providing value is seen as more than just a measurement of value against cost.

When working with organisations I have deployed projects that have gathered case study evidence, provided cost saving services, utlised methods such as the creation and development of expert networks to gather knowledge and expertise quickly for the right project.  Depending on the organization concerned different strategies were more successful than others.  Organisational culture, situation, management teams and past experiences using services from the information and knowledge team by executives and employees all had an impact on what would work well and what wouldn’t.  Getting people’s buy-in to projects top up and bottom down through successful communication of why the project or initiative was important was a very important success factor in ensuring the project or initiative was successful.  Communication tools used included promotional messages around the organization from ‘Q and A’ meetings to posters and email campaigns and demonstrations of value.  Methods used depended on the situation, particular initiative and required impact, how far communication needed to reach to be impactful in the organization etc.

Our survey this year examined a number of different communication methods and how they have been used successfully.  It was clear that there is a place for all communication methods but that depending on the situation, person or group to be communicated to different methods have differing success rates.  There is a clear need for electronic and traditional communication methods especially face to face communication.

Read more on this and discover the detail in the 2017 survey in September’s issue.

June Issue of BIR now available online

June’s BIR features a familiarly eclectic mix of papers and topics to mitigate the uncertainty engendered by the political world. The first article is this issue is by Henry Boateng from the University of Technology Sydney in Australia and Abednego Feehi Okoe and Tiniwah Deborah Mensah from the University of Technical Studies Accra in Ghana. Entitled ‘The Relationship Between Human Resource Practices and Knowledge Sharing in Service Firms’, the paper examines the effects of job satisfaction, employee commitment, workplace friendship and team culture on knowledge sharing in the service industries. The study finds that these factors play an important role in the willingness of employees to share their expert knowledge and recommends the importance of workplace teams and team culture in facilitating knowledge management strategies.

Manny Cohen, Chairman of Armadillo Business Information, provides the second of our papers this issue, bringing personal and professional experience to the question of fake news in the commercial information environment. Fake news has begun to dominate the agenda in response to recent political upheavals, such as the US Presidential elections and the Brexit referendum discussed in this editorial. Entitled ‘Fake News and Manipulated Data, Individual Access and the Future of Information’, Manny Cohen explores the relationship between fee and free in the digital economy and the underlying causes of the emergence of fake news and inaccurate information, in a provocative critique of the culture of the information industry.

Our third paper is from Jonathan Engel, Director and Chief Information Architect at InfoArk. Under the title, ‘Improving Retrieval of Structured and Unstructured Information: Practical Steps for Better Classification, Navigation and Search’, the paper discussed how information architecture can improve information management processes and help make information resources easier to search and locate. Providing a practical and useful framework for taxonomy building, the paper also addresses a case study of the development of an extended taxonomy in a global agricultural business, and the improvements in recall, precision and accuracy that resulted.

Keith Dewar’s ‘The Value Exchange: Generating Trust in the Digital World’ is our fourth paper in June’s issue. Keith Dewar is Group Marketing and Product Director of MyLife Digital, a company that provides organizations and individuals with a trusted platform built on security, convenience and control for personal information management. His paper for BIR addresses question of trust in the new digital economy of personal information. Personal information has become a kind of currency of the digital age, exchanged in return for access to products and services and transformed into advertising and other revenues. But personal data have also become highly politicized as a consequence of concerns about privacy, surveillance and corporate and state intrusion. Keith Dewar’s paper explores the GDPR and the ways in which companies can approach rebuilding trust between themselves and individuals in the management of personal data.

Our final paper was written by Mario Oscar Steffen, Mírian Oliveira and Andrea R Balle and addresses questions of knowledge management and knowledge sharing in science parks. Entitled ‘Knowledge Sharing Among Companies in a Science and Technology Park’, the research explores the question of collaboration in Brazil. As the authors note, science parks are designed to facilitate collaboration and encourage concentrations of expertise and therefore should be expected to be sites of knowledge exchange and sharing. They find that much of the collaborative knowledge sharing related to managerial rather than technical knowledge and reflect the desire to refine and improve existing products and services.

Martin White returns with Perspectives to round of June’s issue of BIR. Perspectives takes a broad look at emerging research in the social sciences, in general, that may have escaped the attention of information professionals. This issue he draws on research published in History of the Human Sciences, Journal of Service Research, Information Visualization, Organizational Psychology Review, Journal of Information Science, Communication Research, Organization Studies and Health Informatics Journal. The column touches of issues of information overload, big data, research data management, content management systems, virtual teams and business development. Whatever the uncertainties in the wider world Perspectives remains essential reading for wider professional current awareness.

Luke Tredinnick and Claire Laybats

Man vs. Machine vs. Data….?

Author: Penny Leach SLA LMD Past Chair 2017 and BIR Editorial Board Member

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

I recently had the pleasure of attending the 14th Perfect Information Conference (PIC2017) in Bath, England.  This annual event, hosted by the company Perfect Information (part of Mergermarket), brings together leaders and senior members of information services from within financial and professional service organisations with representatives of their content and service vendor partners.   The high number of repeat attendees confirms the conference’s value.  This year’s programme theme was ‘Man vs Machine: comrade or threat’.  For me (spoiler alert!) the whole event reaffirmed the current and future value and potential of humans in an increasingly technological world.

The conference programme includes keynote speakers, more practical workshops and hot topic think tanks (and of course some socialising!).  What seemed to me initially a rather disparate set of topics actually transitioned from the big picture of artificial intelligence (AI) and its future to more practical implications of change for businesses today.  Having worked myself for a short time at the (original) Turing Institute in the early days of AI, it was fascinating to hear where AI is today.

AI is all around us, was the clear answer from the three speakers who focused on this topic, respectively Marc Vollenweider (Evalueserve), Anton Fishman (Fishman & Partners) and Nicolas Bombourg (Report Linker).  Marc, who is transitioning from CEO to Chief Strategist of Evalueserve, spoke about the explosion of data sets, and the business value to be derived from cheap but effective analytic use cases.   Anton alluded to the ‘perfect storm’ of converging technologies that is affecting the world of machine learning.  Nicolas described Artificial Narrow Intelligence (ANI) – where we are now (machines specialising in one are) – and how we are moving closer to Artificial General Intelligence (AGI) – machines thinking like humans – and even beyond to Artificial Super Intelligence (ASI).

Are we heading for dystopia or utopia?  There were references to sobering statistics about the predicted negative impact on job numbers, for example, Mark Carney’s speech on the  ‘hollowing out of the middle classes’ and Frey & Osborne’s research in to the future of work in the US.  Ultimately however the message was upbeat. Marc is definite that ‘insights need humans’, and has written about the benefits of combining mind+machine.  Anton referred to the opportunity for the ‘rise of humans’ that Microsoft’s Envisioning Officer has described.   The message is that technology is supporting humans, expanding our potential – AI is already invisibly enhancing our world.  This is not a zero sum game for mankind, even if it does create much management uncertainty, ethical dilemmas,  job redefinition and the need for a new ‘social contract’.

What were my key takeaways from these speakers and all the other interaction at the conference for me in my role as an information professional and services manager?

Information professionals do have roles to play in the new data economy, where the flow of data is driving innovation and growth, as long as they are open minded and upskill.  Marc has elsewhere talked about the emerging role of the information engineer in creating analytics solutions. McKinsey recently re-recognised the need for translators between technology and information, reaffirming the need to link IT, understanding of data, and business need.  Establishing the veracity of data is of course a traditional information professional skill.

Information professionals need to engage with the business, via new channels such as their workplace’s Chief Information or Data Officer (CIO, CDO) – wherever analytics are happening – and change the scope of their services to help the business build effective productivity tools and  new trigger-based workflows, and avoid data lakes that become data graveyards.

Change management is important – keeping people engaged, attracting new talent, enabling career progression, as well as ensuring effective use of the new tools and data by the business.

And for those directly engaged in buying and selling data there are reminders of the early days of the internet and outsourcing in the challenges of delivering and consuming data in new ways – for the vendors, what to build first for which client, how to protect the data, how to charge for it; for their clients where to focus efforts, who will eat the costs; and for both parties, how to deal with the increased visibility of data quality issues.

Overall the Conference ended on an optimistic note in contrast to the anxieties of the 2016 Conference (as described by in the opening session of the conference by Robin Neidorf) and inspite of the seismic political changes we have seen in the UK and USA in the last twelve months.  It will be interesting to hear how things have further changed for the attendees by the same time next year.

Let me know what you think of AI’s impact on your world.

Penny Leach

SLA LMD Past Chair 2017

Winner of BIR Best Paper Prize 2016

We are delighted to announce that the best paper prize winner for 2016 is Sian Tyrrell for her paper ‘From passenger to pilot – Taking the lead and building a business critical information management strategy’.   It was a close competition this time as we have had a number of exceptional submissions however we felt that Sian’s paper illustrated clearly the challenges and potential pitfalls experienced by those developing an information strategy for the first time.  There are some clear lessons learned that can be taken from the paper.  You can read the paper here for free for a short time

http://journals.sagepub.com/stoken/default+domain/GFxgVi4wGNGQ5U2THtak/full

 

 

 

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.