The BIR annual survey now in its 28th year, has just opened for this year. The survey provides a look inside the library, information and knowledge profession, highlighting key trends and changes that have taken place over the last 12 months.
The survey is run by Denise Carter, the Managing Director of DCision Consult, a competitive intelligence & business analytics service provider to the pharmaceutical & bio- technology industries. She has 30 years of experience working in the library and information management sectors.
The e Survey is open now just click this link to contribute and give your opinion https://www.surveymonkey.com/r/BIRsurvey18 The survey is complemented by 30 minute interviews for those who wish to take part further. These interviews, conducted by Denise are highly confidential in nature. The resulting report does not identify any one person or company.
The report will be published in September’s Business Information Review.
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.
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.