This article is part 1 of a 4-part series on managing the digital evolution of information.
First and foremost, outsourcing digital information management functions doesn’t have to be all or nothing. The outsourcing of many library and information management services is already an accepted and common practice today in the public sector, as well as private and legal repositories.
Most executives and IT managers now approach outsourcing from the perspective of a long-term strategic business practice to reduce costs and increase workflow efficiency while enhancing service levels for their customers and other stakeholders. Outsourcing IT functions is an invaluable option available within the library services industry, allowing businesses to not only jump over new technological hurdles much faster, and at a reduced cost, but to better control the massive cultural change when transitioning from a traditional to digital library. One of the biggest challenges is deciding which business functions to contract out, and which to maintain in-house.
According to 2011 benchmarks by Outsell, the most commonly outsourced activities fall into the following four categories:
These are necessary functions that don’t necessarily increase revenues and include document imaging, cataloging and delivery, data inquiries and alerting services.
Tactical enterprise information management functions
Complex queries, research and archive and records management tasks that require understanding from both a business and technology perspective.
Outside expertise required
Some functions require skills and experience that are often not available in existing information management staff such as analysis or subject matter understanding.
Information and technology service providers commonly handle user training.
These four categories of outsourced information management functions are all common responsibilities associated with managers responsible for both physical and digital information assets, whether an employee or contractor.
In Part-2 of this series, I will outline what’s needed for hiring and contracting so you can properly plan and expand your business into the digital marketplace.
4-part series links:
Part 1 – Most commonly outsourced digital information management functions today
Part 2 – Contracting or hiring to manage your digital information assets
Part 3 – Skill sets needed for digital information asset management positions
Part 4 – Outsourcing pros vs. hiring pros
OUTSELL, Making Information Management Outsourcing Work: Success Factors and Best Practices, by Roger Strouse (Jan 17, 2011)
“To know where you can find anything, that in short is the largest part of learning.” – Anonymous