Robin Neidorf Jinfo for content purchasing
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By Robin Neidorf


Evaluating content products and managing a comprehensive portfolio is a complex task. Jinfo's director of research, Robin Neidorf, identifies characteristics of the product's content, technology and the vendor's value proposition which must be considered prior to purchase.


Last month I submitted a chapter on how to optimise a content portfolio for "Handbook on Information Management", a book in development for publication by Emerald with co-editors Toby Pearlstein and James Matarazzo. My 12,000 words concentrated on the perspectives, stakeholder discussions, variables and processes that go into creating and managing a comprehensive portfolio of information and data products.

One of the things I enjoy about this sort of writing is the opportunity it gives me to reflect on and organise my thoughts about an aspect of the information profession. When I take the time to document everything I've learned from Jinfo's customers over the years, I inevitably discover insights and patterns that had never occurred to me before.

This opportunity was no exception. Whilst laying out all the variables of evaluating content products and then managing a comprehensive portfolio, I gained a new appreciation for just how complex a task this is. 

Identifying the components of value

Just to evaluate a single product, I came up with the following list, these components comprise the value of each product in your portfolio:

Characteristics of the product's content

  • Breadth
  • Depth
  • Consistency
  • Quality
  • Stability
  • Uniqueness.

 Characteristics of the product's technology

  • Search
  • Reporting and outputs
  • Alerting
  • Analysis
  • Interoperability
  • Mobile access
  • API or flexible data access.

Value characteristics of the vendor

  • Pricing approach(es)
  • Transparency
  • Partnership.

Internal definitions of value

However, before even considering these variables, you have to first understand how your organisation itself defines value, which may include one or more of the following:

  • Sales and growth
  • Profitability
  • Efficiency
  • Innovation
  • Risk management
  • Public interests.

The complexity of decisions and negotiations around content products is suggested by the length of the lists above. The next time stakeholders ask you why these decisions cannot simply be taken over by a central procurement team, or even outsourced, show them these lists. 

In addition to the chapter on portfolio value optimisation by Jinfo's director of research, Robin Neidorf, the "Handbook of Information Management" features contributions from a number of Jinfo's customers and contributors. Watch for more information about publication in the autumn of 2017.

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