Robin Neidorf Insight 1 from Research Focus - What you should sacrifice to focus on source expertise
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By Robin Neidorf


In the first of the insights from Jinfo's Research Focus, "Source Expertise - What It Means in a Google World", director of research, Robin Neidorf, explains how to raise the value of information interactions at every level of the business and how to achieve strategic value from source expertise.


Source Expertise - What It Means in a Google WorldThe best information services actively move lower-level source work (such as individual searches and results delivery) to end users, outsourced or offshored providers, because that's the way to focus on "source expertise" and build real value for the business.

This insight is one of the headline results of Jinfo's Research Focus, "Source Expertise - What It Means in a Google World".

If your information team is using, reviewing or otherwise touching an information source, it needs to be because the current task requires high-level expertise to answer the types of questions that require that specialist source expertise:

  • Why this source?
  • Are we optimising its use?
  • How does it support the goals of the business?
  • Are we managing related risk?

Moving lower-level source work out of information services feels risky, however. Too many information services are afraid to give up basic transactions because they feel those services keep them visible and relevant.

Furthermore, giving up these tasks feels overwhelming. "How are we ever going to train all those users?" is the question used to forestall necessary action.

Yes, it IS a big task to move more basic work to end users, outsourced and offshored providers. But if done correctly, this is exactly the kind of investment that heightens the value of information services and source expertise. It raises the value of everyone's information interactions at every level of the business, and it works WITH the trend of self-service users rather than against it.

One of the most common complaints we hear from customers when we push them to focus on strategy is, "We don't have time". Part of the reason for this lack of capacity is because too much time is eaten up by the lower-value work. By remaining at the status quo, information services are making it much harder for themselves to maintain and enhance their strategic value to the business.

What should you do to achieve strategic value from source expertise?

  • Take a step back from regular operations - you cannot think strategically between meetings and putting out fires.

  • Rate each of the services your information team provides according to how much of your team's time it takes, then rate each according to how well it leverages your source expertise. Wherever time and value are out of alignment, you need to streamline - automate, push to end users, outsource, or end.

  • Take one core service and break it down into its smallest steps. Where are the bottlenecks in the process? Which steps need to be thought through, and which can be done by rote? Could any steps be significantly shortened if end users or customers were trained differently? This kind of detailed analysis can result in significant time savings, so that you can elevate your focus to strategic projects.

  • Repeat this statement at every information team meeting: the most valuable thing we provide to the business is source expertise. What are we doing today/this week/this month/this quarter to deliver that value, and what's distracting us from doing so?

These items from the Research Focus "Source Expertise - What It Means in a Google World" will help:

The main lessons learned from this three-month Research Focus, plus a thematic index to all content published, are listed in the report Insights and Actions from the Research Focus "Source Expertise - What It Means in a Google World", visit the Research Focus page to get your copy.

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