Wednesday, 17th November 2010
Nancy Davis Kho
While participating in guided demonstrations of five nominated products in the Best Business Information category which I'm judging for this year's Software and Information Industry CODiE awards, I've been struck by how essential the ability to underpin employee productivity has become in 'selling' what is presumed by customers to be excellent content.
I, along with my co-judge, am seeing only a third of the products in the category, so it may just be the subset we're looking at (I'm going to keep mum about which specific products we're seeing, given that judging is ongoing this month.) But Freepint reader feedback all year has emphasised the need for exactly the things that I'm most excited about in reviewing these products:
• Workflow integration. Virtually every product I've reviewed has got smarter about keeping users on the platform once the sought-after information is uncovered. This speaks to the desire not just to locate answers but to act upon them quickly, whether it's adding notes, emailing to a colleague, setting up an alert, or linking to a social network, all without leaving the screen. With reduced staffing and higher demands for productivity, anything that helps workers not just find, but do, is critical.
• Customisation. Again, enabling users to customise the way they interact with a product is a big plus. For instance, when it comes to Alerting, some vendors let users specify at the level of 'type of update' rather than just the company name, which will ensure that only the most relevant alerts are sent. Similarly, offering multiple ways to access content, from desktop to mobile and in modular builds - makes sure the user gets just the data they need, when they need it.
• Combining content. A couple of the products we looked at were completely new in 2010, built off legacy databases of a parent company and those of a recently acquired company. Alternatively some were entirely new interfaces aimed at a specific type of user that leverages existing data and augments it with new, audience-specific data as well.
I'll look forward to hearing who the finalists are by 13 December, at which point SIIA members can vote in each category. The experience has given me some fresh ideas for what we pull out of our VIP reviews, not to mention a few more products to add to the 2011 Review Pipeline.
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