Daily Archives: October 12, 2020

Be the Knowledge Consultant in Data-Driven Initiatives

There wasn’t anything live going on today so I watched a session called “Be the Knowledge Consultant in Data-Driven Initiatives.” It was another 30 minute session, which seems to be my sweet spot at the moment. It is sponsored by Dow Jones, which made me a little leery, but I watched it anyway.

The agenda included:

  • Biggest potential for information teams to deliver value
  • Increasing visibility and adding value
  • What is the “knowledge consultant”
  • Gauging your environment for opportunities and partnerships

The session started with introductions and ended with next steps.

Biggest potential for information teams to deliver value

The first point was about the ingestion of 3rd party data. Solutions information professionals could provide included advising on the capture of unstructured data such as news and press releases. Compliance and building searches for the automated discovery of data. These points seem so basic that I can’t believe information professionals aren’t doing them already. As Manager of Library Services, my team and I were regularly running a series of searches we called ‘Client and Issue tracking’. This service was exactly what the presenters are offering.

The presenters also discussed re-use of 3rd party data. Licensing data once doesn’t mean you can use it for everything you want. The license terms dictate how you can use 3rd party data and many info pros have excellent skills in licensing all types of external content. It is important to discuss how external content might be used and license it for as many potential uses as possible, within the budget.

The presenters also said that licensing content as an evolving area in our profession and I have to disagree. In the legal area, library managers and electronic services librarians (AKA equivalent titles) routinely license a variety of different content, negotiate contracts and otherwise provide access to a variety of different content. While norms in this area many not be consistent, librarians and info pros talk to each other (one of the reasons we have SLA) and a common topic of discussion is contract negotiations.

One point with which I agree is silo busting. Connecting information is key to providing a company with more ways to use their own information. This isn’t always possible, or can be difficult, depending on the owners of the silos. Info pros are in a good position to know how the different silos can work together, because of the knowledge gained when various patrons ask for research. Librarians can see connections between different departments when the same questions are getting asked by people who may not know each other.

Increasing visibility and adding value

Dow Jones and Jinfo created a series of webinars based on the thoughts of information managers. One of the points that was consistently made was that info pros should be an agent of change. Embracing new opportunities will prevent you from seeming stodgy or afraid.

According to the presenters, there is an increased demand for data literacy. People want to know what is data, how is it structured and how can it be used. Our jobs are already spreadsheet heavy, so these skills can be an easy leap.

Being a data curator is another opportunity to add value. A data curator understands all the data sets in the organization and who controls them, and what data is accessible. “Accessible” data may be data that is licensed, but not owned. Partnering on issues such as integration and storage requirements is a good way to get a seat at the table. Info pros are already experts at annotating, publishing and presenting information. We understand how information/data is structured and can help others with that as well.

The next section was about who in the organization was using data and presented by a representative from Dow Jones.

They identified, from a survey, the following people/offices as the chief users of data:

  • CDO – chief data officer
  • data scientists
  • data strategy office
  • Innovation office

Frankly, the roles listed above must have had broader definitions and other titles associated with them. I have never heard of a chief data officer in the C-Suite. It could be new, but it sounds like a director position under the CIO or CKO.

Who is the “knowledge consultant”?

They like information professionals as knowledge consultants. They mention again that we can connect parts of the business who are working on the same problems. We can also connect departments with information and data they may need, but not know is available.

They suggest working with stakeholders to find out which projects are underway, so you can advise on what information or data might be available.

Every information professional should know what information is available in the organization. This can mean you have to delve into book chapters or lengthy files to get more detail. Knowing what you have is critical to being able to share it.

Your company culture also comes into play in terms of collaboration and hurdles to information sharing to overcome. Company culture, in this context, can fall into four categories:

  • data centric and synergistic
  • data centric and siloed
  • data emergent and synergistic
  • data emergent and siloed

Gauging your environment for opportunities and partnerships

Questions that must be answered are whether your organization is data-centric or data-emergent. It is also helpful to know whether your organization is synergistic or siloed.

First, make a development plan for your team. Break down the knowledge needs so you know who has what skills or who can learn needed skills.

Keep your eye out and try to identify areas that are working on data projects or may be working on data projects in the future.

This was an interesting session. I think it would have been more powerful if they had given specific examples of how info pros are working on data driven projects in their organizations.

They recommended two handouts, which are actually webpages: