[Guest Post by Elaine Egan]
For decades technology has been an enabler for Knowledge Management.  Industries have surrendered to the pressure of a technology solution that doesn’t factor in the real human element of organized information, defined terms and evaluation that lead to actionable knowledge.  The founding principles of knowledge management are that unique information held by an individual, group or organization and leveraged to best knowledge advantaged creates a competitive edge.   This unique knowledge makes one group better decision makers, more creative and they perform faster; leaving the other guys in the dust.   By learning, sharing, reusing, collaborating and innovating, one group is viewed as more appealing and valuable.

Of course a portal, website, intranet, database, CRM and a Google search feed the hungry information seeker; but the information is only as good as the evaluation it has undergone.  Enter the Library and information professional.  The information professional possesses the subtleties of data relationships, subject expertise, content understanding and integrates desired information with technology efficiencies leading to actionable knowledge.

With all this competition in the market, is it no wonder why Marketing and Business Development teams are not only supporting but driving strategy and constantly seeking opportunities?   I think of Business Development in a law firm or professional consulting firm like an R&D division at Johnson & Johnson, DuPont, Dell, Apple and GE.  The R&D group much like a BD team requires elements of planning and research prior to implementation or bringing a product to market.  The initial planning phases typically would probe and assess based on a few basic thoughts.

  • What is needed or possible in the market?
  • Do we want to be part of it?
  • How do we find who, what, when, where and why?
  • Does it support the organization’s mission or goals?
  • Have we the expertise?
  • Can the organization support the outcome?

By responding to RFP’s and gathering Business and Competitive Intelligence, Business Development teams are building a strategy based on some forms of these R&D questions.  However, we know there is a big gaping hole when firms do not include the information professional in aspects of this planning process.  When a Business Development team requests a basic TAXI report, a Hoovers report or a League Table the firm isn’t widening the intelligent view of a client, an industry or creating a unique opportunity.  By formalizing the partnership between the Library Information Center, Knowledge Management and Business Development you gain a connection between data, information and content with a broad spectrum view of industry specific knowledge management that supports long term business goals.  The Library and information professional are the linchpin that promotes agility, by reducing response times and delivering trusted information that intersects with intelligent decision making.  Knowledge Management within the Library demonstrates that concepts, data and industry awareness adapt to changing needs.  This knowledge is the resource that is a business development value proposition.