Jinfo BlogInsight 3 from Research Focus - start with strategy not services

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By Robin Neidorf

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In the third and final of the insights from our Research Focus, "Benchmark information roles - optimise your structure", Jinfo's director of research, Robin Neidorf, explains why it's essential to plan from the top down in order to ensure your services align with strategic goals... and that services are scalable.


Benchmark information roles - optimise your structureOptimised services for any size of team starts with strategy not services

Jinfo's third insight in the Research Focus, "Benchmark information roles - optimise your structure", is that every decision, every task, must be grounded in your operational strategy.

It doesn't seem revelatory on the face of it: we all know the importance of strategy

The revelation is this: information teams that start from this foundation are actually able to answer the two contradictory questions that plague information services:

  • How can we become better recognised for the valuable contributions we make?
  • How would we cope with any increased work volume that might come from a marketing push?

Strategy defines what services you provide and for whom. It forces focus on aligning your highest value resources (namely, staff time) with your highest value customers and services.

This is neither easy nor simple to accomplish. Information professionals prefer to say "yes" to requests for help. Strategy requires knowing when to say no, and how to avoid answering a £10 question with £1,000 in resources.

The most successful information services, the ones that are recognised for their value and can scale resources up or down to meet demand, are the ones that have:

  • Defined their strategy
  • Analysed current operations to determine where legacy services are misaligned with strategy
  • Re-engineered or stopped those services
  • Acted on proactive plans to grow the amount of high-value work they do with their most high-value customers.

Optimised services take discipline, clarity and a willingness to let go of ways of working that are not serving the business. This may be the hardest project an information team can take on.

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Free: key insights

The main lessons learned in this three-month Research Focus, plus a thematic index to all content published, are listed in the "Insights and Actions" report for the Research Focus, "Benchmark information roles - optimise your structure".

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The content in the current Research Focus, "Benchmark information roles - optimise your structure", investigates the development of strategy and its application to the complex decisions that go into delivering valuable services. Your Jinfo Subscription provides access to these items.

Use these items from the Research Focus for specific guidance (paid subscription):

The following webinars will also be useful (paid subscription):


Join your peer group in Jinfo Community sessions to work on these issues (paid subscription, with Community option included):


Jinfo Consulting is working with customers today to articulate strategy, and then align operations with it through re-engineering, staff development programmes and business growth planning. Contact us to learn how we can help you.

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