Jinfo BlogResearch Update - Demonstrate the value of your current awareness service

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By Robin Neidorf

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Abstract

Providing a "good" current awareness service is hard to achieve. How can you ensure users and managers recognise its value?

Item

Without a doubt the most frequently asked question at Jinfo is a variation on this one:

"How do we demonstrate the value of our information service?"

The answer is simple, but not easy:

  1. Articulate the purpose
  2. Agree with stakeholders on the data which measures success against that purpose
  3. Gather the data and report.

As so many of us know, however, items 1 and 2 are fiendishly difficult. So we're often left gathering and reporting on usage data and cost-per-use - datapoints that carry little weight without context.

During the current Research Focus, "Content and technology for current awareness", this core question is being asked about a service that is often taken for granted:

  • Users (mistakenly) believe that provision of current awareness in a corporate setting should be easy and cheap (perhaps even free)
  • Information managers deliver current awareness services without having truly investigated the actual needs, preferences and threshold for "good enough".

It's little wonder half the respondents in our recently published "Survey on current awareness" are dissatisfied with the match of their efforts to organisational needs. How can you achieve alignment when you don't have a clear idea of what's needed?

Even more respondents - around 60% - are dissatisfied with the reporting they get from their current awareness systems. Many get no data whatsoever. They're not even sure how much time they and their staff spend on delivering the service. More than one manager has told me she doesn't want to measure the hours, for fear of how large the number will be.

Demonstrate the value? Not a chance, without returning to first principles: What's the purpose? What are the datapoints? Gather and report.

Talk with us about how Jinfo Consulting can help you make progress on this challenge. And Jinfo Subscribers can start right away, by reading about and adapting our approach to a needs assessment.

 

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