The Elephant Series Brainstorming over beer – we came up with a new blog concept and we’re calling it The Elephant. The concept is tackling a topic from multiple points of view. On the first pass, these POVs will come from our stable of bloggers. But then the real fun will come engaging others POVs for the dialogue. Too often in our industry these dialogues appear in separate venues and never cross paths. We want to force that path crossing in a grand way. We are calling it The Elephant for two reason:

  1. The Elephant in the Room
  2. The Story of the Blind Men and the Elephant

Which means we’ll get to hear from each blind man and/or woman and hopefully end up with the complete picture. And we hope to pull the covers off of many elephants in the room that have been standing there far too long – un-noticed. Participation is key to this dialogue, so please provide your POV on the topic. You can do so via the comments section. Let the games begin! First Elephant Question: Is It Better To Get It Right Or Do It Right? This question is really founded in the value of process. Should we follow a process to insure the right or best result, or is the right result good enough on its own? The Alternative Fee Arrangement (AFA) Perspective Pricing as an Art and Science – Where’s the Line? Toby Brown From my perspective running alternative fee deals – ‘getting it right’ weighs in at 90% in this debate. But right now I appear to be living in the wild wild west. Too much order in terms of process would leave me behind. In my role, I need to deliver answers now, not after driving requests through a drawn-out formal process. I do need access to the right information at the right time. But following a rigid schema right now would lead to getting it wrong. Not something I have time or the patience for. However … the writing on the wall has “Process” in bold letters. My biggest challenge is finding any tools or system around to handle any process. Normally I’m the guy who chafes at random spreadsheets, used to avoid a database. But in this world I am forced to use them. My bottom-line: Getting it Right is all that counts right now. But vendors …. please, please, please – I am begging you to get some reasonable AFA and LPM process tools on the market soon. The Information Technology Perspective Process with Schmucks Scott Preston Measure twice and cut once – is this process or knowledge? It takes longer, but the results are consistently better and consistently better results is what process is all about, but caution is based on knowledge and experience. The typical IT person is process oriented, this is very important when you are maintaining complex systems, especially as IT is being asked to do more with less. But doing more with less often calls for creative thinking, and focus on process can fly in the face of creative thinking. When looking for a new solution, ask this question. Is this a one off solution or one that will happen again? The more the solution needs to be repeated the more time needs to be spent on automation (repeatable process). When working on new solutions you will frequently hear me talk about “turning the problem on its side” – meaning, let’s look at this from another angle or approach the problem in a new way. This concept is part of my nature. I’m a jazz musician by training and jazz musicians are all about learning the rules and then breaking them. So, don’t let process stunt your creative thinking, break a few rules and learn from your mistakes. The Library & Information Services Perspective Process, Schmocess!! Question Asked… Question Answered is the new process! Greg Lambert In these times of running a research shop with bare-bones operations, researchers don’t have time to “teach a man to fish” anymore. These days it is a process of question-in… answer-out rather than going through the process and explaining to the person where the resources are located, how to navigate or search that resource, and what alternatives are out there that may also hold the answer to the question being asked. It makes for job security for librarians and researchers, but it also creates a terrible process and is counter to what librarians and researchers are really good at… and that’s teaching others how to find answers, while at the same time providing them the answers they need. The process definitely isn’t where it needs to be, but bare-bones operations call for bare-bones processes. The Competitive Intelligence (CI) Perspective Dealing with Cloudy Crystal Balls and Out of Date Tarot Cards Zena Applebaum Good competitive intelligence (CI) is in itself a process that is constantly evolving in an effort to get it right while doing it right. Taking the time to do it right only works in cases of extreme clairvoyance, where you know what the answer to the business problem is going to be so you can design a process around finding that answer. Unfortunately, CI doesn’t really work that way and most of CI practitioners’ crystal balls are cloudy and our tarot cards are out of date. So we have no choice but to dive in and try to get it right first; allowing the process to form in the background. As each new question or assignment is taken on, the process gets refined to become more “right” often resulting in greater efficiently and a better understanding of the scope of the problem/solution. Interestingly, the process that will be used to answer the question can often inform the intelligence that will come out. For example, using an environmental scan (the process) to identify a key competitor (the answer) in a market place may actually create several more questions requiring a different set of processes and still not lead to a “right” answer. But you wouldn’t have known to ask those new questions if you had not first jumped right in. So for CI people, the answer is first attempt to get it right, and then attempt to nail down a process. Which works until a new question comes along and the now refined process doesn’t work…. The Internet Marketing (IM) PerspectiveIt’s Big Picture, BabyLisa SalazarIM is all about process. We design, post, link, count, analyze, go back to the design, refine, post, …You see where I am going. IM is all about metrics. Lots of folks get stuck at the design phase and get hung up on the little picture (pun intended). What many folks fail to see is that IM should be a process if it is done well and it is done right.