Ian Smith Due diligence, product statistics: a VIP Editorial
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By Ian Smith


“Getting rid of librarians because everything is online = getting rid of accountants because everyone has a calculator on their desk.”
– Stephen Abram, VP strategic partnerships & markets, Gale

Twitter exploded with this quote during this year’s Special Libraries Association annual conference in Philadelphia, PA. Abram’s comment obviously struck a chord with information professionals. Why? Simply put, information professionals (no matter what the speciality) must constantly substantiate their value to their organisations or clients.

When I started in the field of competitive intelligence 12 years ago, many of my former classmates and friends thought that they could do my job by easily typing keywords into Yahoo!, Excite or Hotbot. To dispel this notion, I had to explain to them that there was more to business information research than using an online research tool. Information professionals’ unique value proposition lies within their capacity to know about specialised tools and to be a master of efficiency in obtaining information that is not on the free web. Thanks to publications such as VIP Magazine, professionals can be kept up to date on the latest sources of information that often remain unknown to individuals who just “Google it”.

In this month’s issue, readers will access details regarding Lexis Diligence and Euromonitor Passport. Both sources of information offer the competitive intelligence researcher access to data regarding risk, global and national market reports.

Heidi Longaberger’s review provides insights regarding the various features and the types of search and content that users can gather with the Lexis Diligence database. Since one of the roles of a competitive intelligence researcher is to collect data pertaining to possible risks in a business environment, mastering Lexis Diligence should absolutely be on your “to do list”. Putting aside some time to just experiment with this tool will do wonders when you are called upon to create country profiles where fraud and corruption are big issues.

For researchers who are seeking to expand their toolkit of consumer data sources, Jan Knight furnishes a comprehensive review of Euromonitor Passport. The review is very practical, easy to follow and valuable when you place yourself in front of the database’s search interface. Such a read will no doubt save you time, especially when your deliverable may turn out to be a little bit more complex than expected. Again, I urge you to play with the tool to get comfortable with it.

After reading both reviews and the rest of the magazine, the notion that anyone can find anything they might need by typing a few words into a search engine is once again debunked. Information professionals will continue to bring value to colleagues and their respective organisations by simply accessing data where internet search engines are prohibited to go.

With the amount of content expanding on the web thanks to social media and what is being archived, the value of an information professional has never been greater. In fact, going forward, acquiring more information professionals is a wise move for any organisation that sees information as a strategic asset rather than a general commodity that anyone can access.

Ian Smith

Ian Smith is the competitive intelligence specialist and chief blogger at Intelegia (www.intelegia.com), a boutique consulting firm that assists organizations adopt social media marketing plans by executing integrated content strategies.

This editorial appears in VIP Magazine No. 92, July 2011. Purchase online >>

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