Tim Buckley Owen

Tim is an independent trainer in research and information skills, with over 40 years' experience in the information and research profession. He can provide training, advice and coaching to help researchers and information professionals add value to their work, particularly in the way they manage their desk research tasks and communicate with their users or clients during the research process.

He's also the author of the classic textbook "Successful Enquiry Answering Every Time". You can find details of his training services at www.buckleyowen.com.

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Articles by Tim Buckley Owen:


Jinfo Subscription We're All Hackers Now
Thursday, 22nd May 2014

Reviewing another crop of scary reports on the risks of cyber attack, Tim Buckley Owen finds once again that not all the solutions are technological ones. There does seem to be a severe shortage of people with data science skills, but the range of possible attacks with which they might have to deal can be described in just nine patterns - and in any case human error remains the biggest single cause of IT disruption to business. With issues such as reputation management to consider, and the arrival of a new tool to help enterprises calculate the cost of cyber attacks, there are plenty of opportunities for info pros to establish their niche in this rapidly growing field.


Jinfo Subscription Privacy - Ignorance is Bliss (for Info Pros)
Monday, 19th May 2014

While the law on privacy may be complicated, the issue is straightforward: people are increasingly concerned to protect it. In the United States, a new White House survey shows how little people trust institutions to protect their data - but can their government offer the reassurance they need when it's one of the biggest offenders? In Europe, comprehensive data protection regulation is on the way - but a new survey shows that nearly half of British companies don't know anything about it. As global players like Facebook, Yahoo, Apple and Microsoft turn every which way to address the issue, and one woman's experiment to hide her pregnancy from the big data marketers proves just too difficult, there are opportunities for information professionals to keep track of it all.


Jinfo Subscription Whose Identity Is It Anyway?
Wednesday, 14th May 2014

Ever-increasing regulatory and compliance requirements mean that the identity and access management (IAM) market continues to grow rapidly. But the millennial generation, used to controlling its own identity across multiple platforms through one social log-in, could be about to break the current top-down approach. Tim Buckley Owen charts the growing phenomenon of Bring Your Own Identity (BYOID), and notes that when employees do eventually take their identity from job to job in the same way as they take their mobile phone now, IT departments risk losing control of IAM and employers could even find themselves having to bid for access to employee identities.


Jinfo Subscription Algorithms - Humans Need Not Apply
Monday, 12th May 2014

As the European Parliament approves proposals to regulate high frequency algorithmic trading, Tim Buckley Owen reviews other recent developments in software that employs big data analytics to trigger automated responses. The benefits of applications such as ensuring quality control in data scraped from the web or detecting potential credit card fraud may be obvious. But others - such as employing the Internet of Things to exploit fleeting "business moments" as sales opportunities - may not be quite so clear cut. Tim argues that the information profession ought to have a view on when things can safely be done algorithmically and when human intervention is required.


Jinfo Subscription Follow Us on Twitter... to Oblivion?
Friday, 2nd May 2014

Plenty of claims are made for Twitter's value in customer relationship management, news distribution and, above all, scale when it comes to big data analytics. But, as Tim Buckley Owen discovers, the value of this social media tool in all of these can be called into question unless we remind ourselves of some pretty fundamental lessons in statistical sampling bias.


Jinfo Subscription Privacy - the Tentacles Stretch Ever Further
Friday, 11th April 2014

Recent privacy developments in both Europe and the United States will impact on most of the big issues that are particularly exciting the information industry at present, Tim Buckley Owen reports - including big data analytics, social media marketing and regulatory compliance. Whether they're in Europe or outside it (as Britain may be one day) neither governments nor individual businesses will be able to escape the long tentacles of European data protection law.


Jinfo Subscription Cybercrime - Don't Waste a Crisis
Monday, 7th April 2014

As yet another clutch of reports offers scary findings on the consequences of online economic and financial crime and failures in cyber security, Tim Buckley Owen discovers that not all the best solutions are necessarily technological and that, since cybercrime is pretty much inevitable at some time or another, you can actually use it to enhance your corporate reputation.


Jinfo Blog BYOD and the Security Nightmare
Friday, 4th April 2014

FreePint writers have been commenting on BYOD - Bring Your Own Device - for a couple of years now. But recent developments suggest that it's poised to move into a different league - and the fear, uncertainty and doubt (or FUD) factor means that executives may be ill-prepared to deal with the security and other challenges that the "shadow IT" of mobile device use brings. In more recent articles, FreePint commentators have exposed the limitations of solutions such as Corporate Owned, Personally Enabled (COPE), and showed how the risks sometimes come from unexpected sources, and suggested that many of the changes required are behavioural, not technological.


Jinfo Subscription Compliance Costs Keep Rising, But So Do the Opportunities
Tuesday, 25th March 2014

The cost of regulatory compliance continues to soar, not just because of the volume of regulation but also because of continuing uncertainty on the part of some regulators over what's actually needed. Whether it's Know Your Customer for financial crime and money laundering or Europe's latest thinking on what kind of privacy and data protection regime it requires in a big data era, the opportunities for compliance work just keep on growing.


Jinfo Subscription Big Data - Talent Gap "Not Where You Think It Is"
Friday, 21st March 2014

Many of the largest enterprises face an information crisis in the next few years because they're still focusing on tools rather than capabilities and working with content that is siloed in business units, two recent sets of findings suggest. But, as Tim Buckley Owen discovers, the answer may not be to hire overtrained and overpaid data scientists but to focus on the talent you already have in-house and on how to expand data literacy across the workforce.


Jinfo Subscription Security Breaches? It's the Innocent Ones You Need To Worry About
Wednesday, 12th March 2014

About a fifth of employees can be induced to reveal their user names and passwords through phishing emails, and many people still seem to use easily guessable passwords. Despite this, recent findings suggest that most British firms still don't see cyber security as a major priority and many don't seem to realise that non-malicious insider threats are the commonest concern. With the European Union poised to introduce tougher disclosure rules on security breaches, Tim Buckley Owen sees a useful damage limitation role for information managers.


Jinfo Subscription Social Media - Admit Nothing!
Wednesday, 26th February 2014

Facebook may have made short work of a recent study predicting its imminent collapse, but subsequent results from Twitter and LinkedIn suggest that all is not well in the world of social media. Looking at some of the problems public social media face in engaging with their users, Tim Buckley Owen suggests that there are implications for enterprise social as well.


Jinfo Subscription Big Data - C-Suite and Research Community Still Fumbling
Friday, 21st February 2014

As yet another report, from KPMG this time, shows that businesses still aren't managing their data effectively, Gartner suggests that the number of chief data officers is likely to grow rapidly, enabling companies to get to grips with challenges like predictive business performance metrics as well as security and fraud detection. A LinkedIn survey, too, shows that most of the skills currently in highest demand are information or intelligence or data related. Information professionals wondering how to contribute their skills in all this could take a lead from IFLA's concern about the intellectual property aspects of text and data mining, or from the scientific community, where University College London and Elsevier have just launched a Big Data Institute.


Jinfo Subscription Facebook - Not Quite So Good for Business, Perhaps
Tuesday, 11th February 2014

Facebook may be riding high at the moment, with record revenues and usage, but one study from Princeton University suggests that its user base may be declining. Even if this is overstating the case, Facebook is currently facing legal action over its use of personal data, on which its entire business model is based, at a time of increased public scepticism over advertising and marketing, and a growing recognition by individuals that their personal data is an asset to be managed. Further findings from Florida State University that Facebook has little value to recruiters in predicting job candidates' performance suggest that it is time for a reappraisal of the use of social media generally.


Jinfo Blog FreePint Tackles Business Planning, ROI & Value
Monday, 10th February 2014

Measuring the value for money provided by information services, and determining whether particular products represent a good return on investment, has always been one of the biggest challenges information managers face. But FreePint writers have been tackling this issue head on, describing techniques for gathering both quantitative and qualitative data and making an evidence-based business case to senior management and other stakeholders. Metrics are part of the process - but so too are case studies and testimonials, all underpinned by the art of persuasion.


Jinfo Subscription Privacy - Comply If You Want to Stay in Business
Monday, 3rd February 2014

Privacy and data protection remain hot issues, likely to impose greater costs and regulatory burdens on business. The European Commission has given the United States Department of Commerce until summer to come up with improvements to the Safe Harbor scheme, and the Federal Trade Commission has issued assurances that the scheme is a priority. Meanwhile the heads of the US Department of Justice and National Security Agency have just agreed to allow internet companies to disclose more to the public about official demands for personal data, and Microsoft has broken ranks with competitors by allowing customer data to be stored outside the US.


Jinfo Subscription 2014 - Reasons to be Cheerful?
Thursday, 2nd January 2014

Businesses still have a long way to go before they can be sure they're exploiting all their available data effectively, suggest recent comments from the Business Information Industry Association and the European School of Management & Technology. But do the exciting developments in big data, business intelligence, analytics and regulatory compliance predicted by analysts such as Gartner and Ovum necessarily have to be information technology led? Perhaps not; some of the skills involved include procurement of increasingly commoditised services and exercising judgement over trends highlighted by the data. And The Economist predicts a growing role for a chief digital officer, charged with embedding technology into products and business models.


Jinfo Subscription Big Data - Help or Hindrance?
Tuesday, 31st December 2013

Apple's recent acquisition of the Twitter analytics firm Topsy, a series of enthusiastic articles by Pinsent Masons on the health and pharmaceutical benefits of data analytics, a report from Forbes Insights on big data's marketing potential, and Google's attempts to interest small businesses in analytics, all suggest that big data may be at the top of its hype cycle. But recent FreePint comment indicates that its impact on knowledge management has been limited so far, and evidence from Thomson Reuters suggests that big data may even be hampering companies' efforts to find the figures they need to comply with tax regulations.


Jinfo Subscription Privacy vs Freedom - It's Going to Get Harder
Tuesday, 24th December 2013

A whole range of recent actions by data protection authorities across the European Union show how seriously regulators continue to take privacy. Issues range over Dutch comment on the validity of online privacy policies, the need to train temporary staff in data protection and the possibility of stiffer United Kingdom penalties for breaches. But there are also conflicts - between economic freedom and unjustified surveillance, prevention of cybercrime and excessive intrusiveness, tougher privacy rules and legitimate journalism. As a new report from Outsell suggests, it's not necessarily going to be easy to work out what proposals will become law and what the best options for compliance might be.


Jinfo Subscription Compliance - Cautionary Tales To Help Your Budget
Friday, 20th December 2013

FreePint's Topic Series: Compliance in Context has drawn attention to an enormous range of useful sources and tools, but persuading enterprises to provide the budget to acquire them may still prove challenging. Some cautionary tales may help information managers demonstrate their value. Britain's new register of beneficial company ownership, criticism by the Financial Conduct Authority of weaknesses in financial firms' Anti-Money Laundering, bribery and corruption procedures, and the more proactive approach now taken by Britain's Revenue & Customs are among the developments covered. Governments' greater inclination to regulate to please voters, and banks' willingness to pay huge fines rather than fight the regulators, may also make spending on a few more compliance tools seem a bargain by comparison.


Jinfo Subscription How to Avoid Social Media Disaster
Friday, 29th November 2013

Following recent advice from FreePint's Sophie Alexander on how to prepare for the rise of social media in the workplace, Tim Buckley Owen looks at some recent applications including disaster planning and crowdfunding. Businesses are testing the water on social media and still have much to learn; a Maxus UK survey finds that business-to-business brands need to understand the busy working lives of the executives they are trying to target - and banker JP Morgan is discovering painfully that social media are designed for relationship management, not merely communication. 


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