Scott Brown Sustainability and Competitiveness - A VIP Edit...
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By Scott Brown


Sustainability and Competitiveness - A VIP Editorial

Looking back at the year, what would you say were the information themes of 2010? ‘Green’ efforts? Social networking? Mobile apps? Cloud computing? eBooks? Copyright? Competitive intelligence? Proving your value? Maybe simply surviving as an information function, or as an information professional?

In many ways, this edition of VIP feels like a microcosm of the information industry developments in 2010. Tim Buckley Owen discusses Outsell’s new Information Management Trends and Benchmarks survey, which echoes FreePint findings. The main messages? Diversify and prioritise your offerings; manage your money and vendors; and ‘get on board the device train’, delivering content via mobile devices.

On the ‘green’ front, Jan Knight discusses the opportunities for venture funding of green initiatives, and Sarah Dillingham of Tribal Group reviews EBSCO’s Sustainability Watch product, a collection that pulls together current thinking and best practices in environmental issues. Dillingham points out that Sustainability Watch pulls together many of the scattered resources on environmental issues, with some good functionality, but suffers from a lack of non-US information, and an interface that could use an update.

This issue of VIP also features the first competitive intelligence software review of our series. We kick off the series with a review of Cipher’s Knowledge.Work product. The product has particular strengths in the collection of secondary and primary information, and provides some tools to help in the planning and direction phase of the competitive intelligence cycle. Look for reviews of other CI software products in upcoming issues.

Other features in this issue include Joanna Ptolomey’s views on Apple going after the healthcare industry; Nancy Davis Kho’s perspective in judging the Software and Information Industry Association’s CODiE awards; Safari Books’ new iPad app; Tim Buckley Owen’s overview of the ongoing struggles with social media; and Penny Crossland’s piece on US eBook sales reaching $1B by the end of 2010.

In the midst of putting together this issue, some of the VIP staff are just back from exhibiting at Online Information 2010 in London, where social media was a big topic of the conference. From exhibiting at Online, the VIP staff gathered a lot of input from customers and subscribers about products to cover in the coming year, so look for new reviews in 2011. Suggestions for reviews, of course, are always welcome. Please send your suggestions to Nancy Davis Kho, Product Reviews Editor ( Suggestions for products to review and topics to cover are also welcome via the VIP online survey at

VIP readers are also encouraged to complete the information manager survey on copyright policies at Participants in the survey will receive a free copy of the full report. This year’s project is sponsored in part by Reprints Desk, the Copyright Clearance Center, the Copyright Licensing Agency, and Elsevier.

In the meantime, if you have suggestions for product reviews, features VIP should add or topics to cover, please let us know at, or share them via the VIP suggestion box at

Scott Brown

Scott Brown is owner of Social Information Group, an independent consulting and information practice focused on the effective use of social networking tools for sharing and finding information.

This editorial appears in VIP Magazine No. 85, December 2010. Purchase online >>

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