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By Tim Buckley Owen

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If you’ve taken the plunge and joined LinkedIn, you might like to know that it’s currently planning to offer some of its members up as expert financial market researchers. However unlike other similar services, where experts are preassembled, LinkedIn apparently proposes to mine its database of millions of users to identify the experts its clients require on an as-needed basis. ‘Because of its Web2.0-scale pool of connected individuals, LinkedIn hopes to provide insight from unexpected sources,’ says Tim O’Reilly, blogging on O’Reilly Radar from the technology trend spotter O’Reilly Media. Reporting the announcement, by LinkedIn’s Mike Gamson, http://radar.oreilly.com/archives/2008/02/linkedin_research_network.html O’Reilly points out that the social network provider already sells seat licences to recruiters – more about this at http://web.vivavip.com/forum/LiveWire/read.php?i=4110&start=0 – and he assumes that this new service will be sold on a seat basis as well. Could corporate information professionals be one of those ‘unexpected sources’? At first sight that may seem unlikely – but recent findings from IT research company Gartner suggest that it might not be as far-fetched as it sounds. Trailing its Portals, Content & Collaboration Summit, which takes place on March 26-28 in Baltimore http://www.gartner.com/it/page.jsp?id=596407 Gartner forecasts that, in their efforts to manage and search through their own content effectively, organisations will drive spending on enterprise search software up by 15% to $989.7 billion in 2008. ‘Technologies are maturing and now offer improved indexing, querying, presentation and drilldown of results,’ acknowledges Gartner’s research vice president Tom Eid. ‘However,’ he significantly adds, ‘by itself the search function has limited value.’ ‘The real value of search and information access technologies is in the ongoing efforts needed to establish effective taxonomies, to index and classify content of all kinds, in order to provide meaningful results,’ he continues. Eid’s comments were no doubt informed by another Gartner report, Meet Your Next CIO ($495 for seven pages, be warned), which suggests that chief information officers are going to need a year or two of non-IT business unit management if they want to pursue new opportunities opening up in the future. Following interviews with IT recruitment heads at four recruitment firms which between them place about half of all the Global 1000 CIOs in a year – key findings at http://www.gartner.com/it/page.jsp?id=598007 – Gartner found that new CIOs were being given more and more non IT duties, and that existing ones who wanted to get on would increasingly need to demonstrate wider business unit management skills. Now we could get defensive about this; corporate information seems an obvious function for ambitious CIOs to target, if they’re not there already. Or we could note the evidence of organisations’ apparently desperate need for good information management fundamentals, exploit our own complementary expertise, and regard it as a marriage made in heaven.

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