week the Special Libraries Association and the Financial Times released a
report “The Evolving Value of Information Management.” First of all, I want
to applaud SLA and the Financial Times for this innovative partnership which
obviously addresses a mutual need to foster the value of both premium
content resources and sophisticated content advisers.
do agree with the reports conclusion that we face unprecedented opportunities. But we need to also acknowledge unprecedented
vulnerability if we do not adapt. This report includes some valuable observations including…..
Five Essential Attributes:
up on technical skills
“decision ready” information
the Analysis Divide
information will take care of number one, communicating our value. Information professionals need to get comfortable analysing, distilling and designing consumable information.The emergence of big data, will create a host of new opportunities requiring a higher level of analytical skills which can benefit both the business and practice of law. The value proposition will increase and become more visible if these opportunities are seized.
is a Credibility Gap in The Performance Gap Data
Much as been made of the performance gaps reported in the survey. The report cites legal information professionals as having overestimated the value of their services compared to their colleagues assessment of the information professionals’ value. They have the biggest “performance gap.” But how credible is the data?
preparing a “decision ready” assessment of the report, I focused on the
survey data that was provided in the introduction. That data is remarkably skewed. There were 832
respondents to the survey and the vast majority of the respondents were information
professionals (83%). Since it is reported that only 17% of the
respondents we in a legal environment we have to assume that there were only
149 respondents in the legal field. If 83% of those respondents were
information professionals, then there were only 25 legal information consumers.
Furthermore it is unclear who those legal information consumers were. How many
were partners, associates, C-level executives in other areas such as finance,
IT or marketing? When I “run the numbers” the large performance gap
which is suggested in the legal context has a lot less weight.
Perception of Value and the Lawyer /Non-lawyer Schism
did the drafters of this survey think that lawyers would view anyone but
lawyers as strategically important to the practice of law? More precisely would any lawyer
view his/her fellow lawyers as delivering more value than his/her own work product? I
Our value needs to be contextualized in the perspective of the overall legal
environment to have any meaning.
The Value of Everything is Being Questioned in Law Firms
You name it, the value partners, associates, senior counsel, staff, office space… every aspect of the business and practice of law is under scrutiny due to the ongoing turmoil of the legal market. Indeed, firms are even questioning the value of certain client relationships! Has there ever been a more uncertain time to ascertain a value proposition? Nonetheless questions must be asked, but they must be asked carefully and in the proper context.
Best News in this report…
the suggestion that executives are ready to engage with information professionals and they anticipate that
such engagement will increase over the next 3 years.