Research Trends and Priorities in Competitive Intelligence
Media monitoring, keyword tracking and automated collection have been some of the methods and tools used to monitor competition. A developing trend that has become a priority is the integration of social media into Competitive Intelligence (CI) efforts. Monitoring a competitor’s activity on Twitter, Facebook, LinkedIn and other social platforms is more useful than monitoring websites, as these platforms are updated more frequently, the content is more personalized and they offer insights into how competitors interact with customers.
With the volume of information and global competitive pressures, another priority for business, law and other users of CI is to prioritize their intelligence-gathering efforts. In a dynamic economy that is global and nimble, competition can emerge rapidly and from unexpected new sources. Companies and firms that compete globally are looking to their competitive intelligence efforts to give them a kind of radar to monitor the environment and detect threats. Without interpretation and analysis, focused on a few critical priorities, the whole process can be too complex and overwhelming, resulting in not much more than an academic research exercise.
Digital Asset Management Trends and Priorities
Managing digital assets was once the domain of media and entertainment companies or marketing and creative departments working with multimedia files like video and high resolution graphics. While they remain the primary users, demand is appearing in other areas. Organizations are seeking to minimize redundancy, maximize usage rights and user licenses, improve workflow and consolidate data storage. Thus we are getting asked to help integrate Digital Asset Management (DAM) into Content Management Systems, Customer Relationship Management and other enterprise systems.
Digital asset collections are growing in volume with greater interest in and accumulation of multimedia content from personal devices like smartphones and tablets. As usage moves from experienced, specialized staff to the masses, organizations need to rely more on web portals to provide self-service access, as well as end-user training and orientation. Without that final piece, much of the investment and effort to establish these systems will be wasted. Self-service will also require improved ways to upload and tag assets, such as automatic metadata generation and development of standards and procedures. Finally, moving file processing and storage away from user desktops is becoming a priority, since these graphical file formats are diverse and very large.
Knowledge Management Moving Forward
The focus of most KM systems has been internal, with organizations wanting to break down internal silos to share information and leverage experience and skills throughout the enterprise. The next priority is to find ways to incorporate external sources of knowledge and information. This will necessitate some integration of social media into KM initiatives and infrastructure, as well as mobility and cloud support for access anywhere and from more user devices. These advancements have made it easier for people to share their insights and learnings. Advanced Knowledge Management strategies in 2013 and moving forward will find a way to use KM to facilitate collaboration and stronger relationships with external stakeholders like major clients, partners and suppliers.
Library & Information Services of the Future
The digital library, or virtual library, continues to take shape, especially in law firms. 2013 saw the opening of the first completely digital, bookless (on the paper kind) public library – Bibliotech in Bexar County, Texas. And a handful of universities have digital libraries for at least some of their collections, primarily engineering.
The perception of a library is shifting to a center for information curation and sharing, something it has always been in function.
The librarian is dead, long live the librarian!
While fewer librarians are needed for managing books and other physical collections, the librarians that remain are providing greater value and being asked to do more information-related tasks like complex research, metadata development, coaching, curating and social media monitoring. The librarian of the future will be a true knowledge worker in every sense.
A library trend we see developing in law firms is embedding, which integrates the law librarian more fully into client teams and practice groups. We expect this to continue as law firms seek to monetize research and other information services. It also fits the trend in law of replacing cost attorney time with less costly staff time whenever possible. Library staff are information-savvy and capable of performing complex legal research, particularly as they develop experience as embedded resources. As more legal services get billed used fixed fees, firms will need to centralize more and find ways to manage client matters as projects. Which reminds me – law librarians with project management skills are in growing demand.
Priorities for Spend Management/Expense Reduction
Cost-cutting is often in response to macro conditions like the regulatory or competitive environment – increased inspection around financial dealings, data security and the environment are three such areas. Meanwhile, fierce pricing competition and shrinking developed markets mean that price increases cannot be the go-to solution. Companies face tough decision-making challenges and choices to determine how to manage costs and reduce some expenses without hurting product quality or service standards. Spend management has to be a strategy, not reactive cycles of isolated cuts. Companies must be willing to change the way they do business, supported by operational and decision-making agility.
The world of knowledge and information management is filled with exciting new opportunities.
All of us at LAC Group wish you a healthy, prosperous, happy 2104!