Monday, 29th September 2008
Tim Buckley Owen
Even the most irrepressible optimist must be struggling to work out to whom the ill wind currently blowing through the financial services sector brings any good. There will be no shortage of helpful ideas for survival over the coming months – and beleaguered information professionals owe it to themselves to look at them, even if that means a lot of false starts before something finally works.
In its online magazine Out-Law, for example, the law firm Pinsent Masons is advising businesses http://digbig.com/4xpgm that now is the time to assess the financial health of their customers and suppliers. It may seem pretty obvious advice, but it could offer some information professionals caught up in the melt-down the ammunition they need to convince their employers that they’re part of the solution, not part of the problem.
In fact, Out-Law’s advice is backed up by a recent report from the Economist Intelligence Unit (EIU), which says that failures highlighted by the ongoing credit crisis are inducing senior managers in financial services firms to reassess their risk management processes as a result.
Executives currently lack confidence in the tools at their disposal says The Bigger Picture: Enterprise Risk Management in Financial Services Organisations http://digbig.com/4xpgk – with lack of uniform data across the business lines being one factor that hampers the process. ‘Often business units in isolation, rather than across all business operations, measure the effect of particular stresses,’ the report finds.
A more collaborative approach to such challenges seems inevitable, not just because of immediate grim necessity, but also because of continuing evidence of the growing value to corporations of social networking solutions. Another EIU report, The Digital Company 2013: Freedom to Collaborate http://digbig.com/4xpgj makes clear that business leaders will need to come to terms with greater information autonomy as employees master the use of collaborative technologies to interact with customers, partners and other colleagues, and as business information comes to flow more freely over the next five years.
It’s the second of a two-part report profiling the company of 2013 – details of the first are at http://www.vivavip.com/go/e7660 – and, like its predecessor, it holds out the promise of future opportunities for astute information professionals. 2013 may be a long way off, and no-one would relish the prospect of enforced inactivity in the meantime – but in the present circumstances, maybe planning for the long term is unavoidable.
In a recent article quirkily entitled ‘Facebook for suits’, the Economist magazine http://digbig.com/4xpgh quotes LinkedIn founder Reid Hoffman as saying: ‘Most users of social networks have a lot of disposable time, but not much disposable income. With professionals it is the other way around.’
It’s food for thought for information managers who are, after all, in the time saving business.
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