FreePint Newsletter No.37121st March 2013
My Favourite Tipples
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When I looked over the recent FreePint Articles to write these comments, the one that jumped out at me was Tim Buckley Owen's FreePint Subscription commentary on the work-from-home flap generated in the wake of Yahoo's now-famous reeling in of the staff. Only a few members of FreePint's staff work in our central office. Teleworking is essential to our productivity, our ability to work with the best people for each job, and our job satisfaction.
But it seems to me there's an even broader point to make, which is echoed in many more recent articles and throughout the FreePint Articles database: can we align the capabilities of technology with our business objectives? Technology is central in business today, but it feels as if we're battling it just as often as we're leveraging it. Commissioning editor Andrew Grave even uses the subhead "Technology vs People" in his FreePint Features article on next-generation competitive intelligence.
At its best, technology turns what was once impossible or prohibitively expensive into just another step in a process. Who doubts that intranets make more visible the knowledge that used to be locked on paper in filing cabinets? Yet intranets have become their own battleground in the fight for frictionless productivity, as contributing editor James Mullan so often demonstrates. His most recent FreePint Subscription contribution assures us that intranets "aren't yet at death's door", but follow his commentary over the past year, and you will get the strong sense that they suffer chronic, debilitating ailments.
The problem seems to get worse, rather than better, when new technologies begin to enter the mainstream. Suddenly the technology is the cure for all ills... even if most people are not quite sure what it does.
Big Data in Action
The latest example of this phenomenon is "Big Data". The technologies encompassed by big data offer exciting possibilities for turning unstructured information into knowledge, massive amounts of raw data into insight, and streams of information into trend analysis and decision support. But at the moment, a lot of the discussion around big data is vague, confusing and lacking in the real-world practicality that will allow information professionals to think creatively about how to harness its potential.
To bridge this gap, FreePint is developing a series of articles, reports and webinars called Big Data in Action. We're publishing case studies, practical examples, and plain-English discussions throughout April and May, culminating in a live discussion at the SLA annual conference in San Diego in June. Register your interest in the Big Data in Action series, and you'll receive free reports, early notification of webinar registration and other announcements throughout the series. And if you have your own big data story to tell, please email me (firstname.lastname@example.org).
In the meantime, I'll be happily and productively working from my home office, in close collaboration with my FreePint colleagues, contributors and readers like you, around the world. It's not "technology vs people" but "technology AND people" that makes this digital world go round.
By Robin NeidorfDirector of Research, FreePint
By Karen Blakeman
The projects and research that I conduct cover a wide range of industries and subject areas so the services I use can change radically from one week to the next. There are some, though, that remain constant and these are the five that I use most on a daily basis.
Karen Blakeman started her working life with a degree in microbiology but was soon enticed into the world of electronic information. She first worked as a microbiologist and then spent 10 years in the pharmaceutical and healthcare industry as an information scientist. She moved to the international management consultancy group Strategic Planning Associates before becoming a freelance consultant and setting up her company RBA Information Services in 1989. She now provides training and advice on search, social media and collaborative tools. She is an Honorary Fellow of CILIP and in 2002 she received the Information Professional of the Year award from Information World Review.
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Big Data Beyond the Buzz
If "Big Data" is on your agenda but you still aren't quite sure what it means, you'll want to be part of FreePint's "Big Data in Action" series starting in April.
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Latest: No.555 19th November
Document the value chain, and transform the way you think about, manage and report on your product portfolio and your information service contributions to your organisation goals.
Focus on Value Chain
Director of Research Robin Neidorf describes the benefits of a Consulting Pilot on Value Chain, to tailor this process to your needs and environment:
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Consulting Pilot on Value Chain