Robin Neidorf Jinfo for content purchasing
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By Robin Neidorf


Jinfo's director of research, Robin Neidorf, outlines three key characteristics of a successful programme of content purchasing, based on Jinfo's recent benchmarking research.


Content purchasing is one of the four central services which Jinfo considers to be an integral part of information expertise. In the Research Focus, "Benchmark information roles - optimise your structure", we document where this function sits in today's organisations.

Nearly all of the information managers we interviewed for this project reported that content purchasing is "owned" by the information department; in a few instances, a procurement department is the primary owner of content purchasing.

Figure 1 shows where the four core services are "likely" to sit or "sometimes" sit, based on our benchmarking research.

Click to view

Figure 1

Regardless of whether or not your organisational structure conforms to one of the models described in our benchmarking work, our research identifies three characteristics of a successful programme of content purchasing:

1. Technology support

I continue to be surprised by the number and variety of organisations that are managing fairly complex content and data portfolios without the support of software.

Spreadsheets, Outlook calendars, even digital sticky notes are far more common for managing contract lifecycles than I would have guessed before investigating. When you have a dozen or fewer contracts under management, these manual processes are probably adequate. But the degree of insight you are missing by managing this data manually might be a surprise. Open-source options are available, and the cost of licensed software is quickly recouped through its ability to provide better insights about spending and risk.

2. Risk management

Speaking of risk, have you scored the components of your portfolio for risk?

Your contracts protect you financially (to a point), but operationally, do you have risk exposure for losing critical data to mergers and acquisitions (M&A) activity, business failure or significant changes in content? If you haven't run a risk assessment on your content portfolio recently, plan one for 2018.

3. Stakeholder engagement

Content and data licensing is extraordinarily complex. The more we look to the future of how businesses will likely use and integrate external data into their platforms and processes, the more complex it will get. The most successful content purchasing strategies explicitly engage with stakeholders throughout the process to build consensus around:

  • The goals of the business and how content contributes to achieving them
  • Definitions and measurements of value
  • Gaps in coverage, by content type or licensed rights, for current or future use.

The coming crunch

Many of our customers organise their content purchasing around a calendar year, which makes the period from October to December a crunch time for contract management.

Give some thought to the three success characteristics and how improvement in any or all of them could make your crunch period easier to handle. Do you need: 

  • Better technology?
  • A stronger handle on risk?
  • Clearer communication and consensus with stakeholders?

I'd love to hear your thoughts - complete the comments form on our Consulting page, or email me directly at

How Jinfo supports content purchasing

Jinfo resources support content purchasing with original research, product reviews, market landscapes, Q&As with vendors and more. If you have a Jinfo Subscription, you have access to all our Content. Click any link below to login to view, save or share any item, register for webinars, and download reports.

We publish research-based insights, facilitate peer-to-peer discussions on them and offer consulting services to tailor those insights to your needs. Find the right Jinfo Subscription components to meet your needs.

Recent Subscription Content of particular interest to our customers involved with content purchasing: 



Product reviews:



The Research Focus, "Benchmark information roles - optimise your structure" runs through September and encompasses three months of research, reports, webinars and Community sessions digging into the results of our benchmarking work on where and how information roles show up in today's organisations and how to make the most of them in your environment.


Community sessions:

Additionally, we have scheduled two vendor spotlight Community sessions, in which we take a close look at changes in the vendor marketplace. These sessions focus on merger and acquisition activities:

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