There has been a lot of discussion in the blogosphere and twitter this week about the Bloomberg Law article “Law Firm Librarians Feel Underused and Underpaid” and the accompanying survey. First off, I want to thank Bloomberg BNA for conducting this survey, sharing the results with the law librarian community and David Perla, President, Bloomberg BNA Legal Division and Bloomberg Law, for discussing these results with me.

I think this title was a bit misleading. Librarians were expressing their frustration that firms weren’t fully utilizing their talents. I think that leaner staffing and more recognition of Librarians as an excellent low cost resource have kept them extremely busy and useful. As David said, “Research is in its lowest cost place today. Research is being pushed down to the lowest cost research, the library.”

My discussion with him about this survey was interesting. Their motivation for conducting this research was as a vendor of Business Development (BD) tools, they wanted to get a sense of the scope of the involvement of law librarians in BD. The overwhelming response of librarians answering “yes” to the question of could they be better utilized took them by surprise (95% of the respondents to Question #6). This is something I’ve been talking about for years (Here’s an example) and I’m pleased to see that this is becoming a universal point of view.
He also noted that law firm librarians see themselves as a resource for the acquisition of work for the firm. This is borne out by the following survey responses:
Q1: 81% cite pushing relevant information on client intel directly to individual stakeholders as demonstration of their value
Q2: 72% see BD and CI as areas currently handled has part of their job
Q3: 66% see BD and CI as logical areas for someone with a law firm librarian skillset to add value

The numbers clearly demonstrate a recognition by the law librarian community of the fact that this is a major contribution they can make to the success of the firm. However, only 18% say their law firm is currently using them in this capacity (Question 5). When taken into account with the previously discussed results, it appears that librarians are not being acknowledged for the BD and CI contributions they are making now. The reasons for this could be that these contributions are funneled through other departments, not recognized as BD or CI, or simply done on an ad hoc basis.

One possible cause for this was identified by David in our discussion. He noted that firm BD initiatives lack consistency from one firm to the next. As result, the quality of the underlying research and analysis is not consistent. Using librarians in this capacity is an easy way for firms to utilize an existing resource to create a consistent high quality basis for strategic business decisions.
The most interesting post for me was from fellow Geek Zena Applebaum. Zena used the survey to point out a path to address the concerns that were expressed by the respondents. David agreed with Zena’s assessment that Librarians are natural sleuths and are good at figuring out the client’s needs early and identifying strategic areas for the firm to target. Let’s face it, the days of “they know what I can do and they know where to find me if they need me to do it” are long gone.   Her post should inspire each of us to take charge of our destiny. Pick up that phone and ask your Marketing counterpart to lunch. Meet with your practice group leaders and show them how you help them achieve their strategic goals. Now is the time for action!
 


Last week the Twitterverse and other content spaces were abuzz (or atweet?), with commentary on the story from Bloomberg Law on how Law Firm Librarians Feel Underused and Underpaid.  Many in the sector agreed or felt that it was a wake up call of some kind.  The article was based on a survey compiled by Bloomberg Law for the annual conference of the American Association of Law Libraries (AALL), the librarians who took part in the survey were polled in person, and others later, over email. Most interestingly to me, was a quote from Bloomberg Law President David Perla “Librarians are saying, ‘We can help a firm anticipate what a client is going to need. We can be ahead of the client.” It reminded me specifically of another Bloomberg Law article from earlier in the summer on Why Law Firms Need to Change their Marketing Priorities. In that article it’s the marketing departments at law firms that are over burdened and understaffed.  One legal marketer who was interviewed suggested “[legal marketers] often don’t have enough time to focus on the most fundamental tasks in business development, such as helping lawyers to increase satisfaction for current clients, plan sales advances or follow up consistently.”  If librarians should be proactive to get noticed, and the business development people need help increasing satisfaction for current clients, isn’t a blended Library/BD person or department the perfect client service marriage?  A one plus one equals two kind of equation?

We have heard again and again in client satisfaction surveys within the legal community that the number one driver for outside counsel selection is a firm who knows and understands a client’s business. I blogged about that here some months ago; the evolution of CI is from Competitor to Client Intelligence.  There is also an assumption among clients that we “all know, what we each know” within a firm. That is to say, that law firms provide knowledgeable, efficient and most of all, anticipatory client service, as Perla suggests.  There is no doubt that Bloomberg Law has a pulse on the legal market – they are in the business of knowing what firms need, and filling that resource void. But they can’t do it alone.

Librarians feel underused and Marketing/BD professionals in firms are drowning in the volume of work and expectations from their lawyer clients.  From my perspective, there is a broader issue of collaboration by law firm management groups at play here.  Each department has their mandate, and each is tentative about stepping outside of their world either for fear of repercussion or lack-of- getting-credit-angst.  I’ve worked with and reported into several different administrative groups in my time at law firms.  And I can tell you that almost all non-lawyers in firms feel underused, it is not just a Librarian thing.  The fact that we are described by the negative “non” prefix is the case in point.   A commentary that several others in the industry have waxed poetic about before and I don’t need to rehash those discussions. Instead, I offer a solution – a rallying point for the non lawyers who are reading this blog.

Let’s work together, truly collaborate and check the egos and credit ratings at the door.  Ultimately, we all want to succeed in our professions and in our roles within firms. For the marketing people amongst us, that means looking outside of our departments and realizing that there are other smart savvy people within our firms who can help to manage the work load by implementing technology tools, researching in anticipation of client needs or increasing the current awareness portfolio. For Librarians it means thinking about information in a commercial way, for example, how can a legislative change impact clients or increase firm revenue and it is about getting out of the library to chat people up and find out what is keeping them up at night and then matching those anxieties with resources.  For all non lawyers, it necessitates a brushing up on soft skills, especially communication, leadership and negotiation skills.  David Maiser, in Strategy and the Fat Smoker, says “We often (or even usually) know what we should be doing in both personal and professional life. We also know why we should be doing it and (often) how to do it.  Figuring it out is not too difficult.  What is very hard is actually doing what you know to be good for you in the long-run, in spite of short-run temptations.”  Collaboration at the highest level – integrated technology platforms, cross departmental response and readiness teams, mutual respect and assistance, is not easy, but we know it’s an imperative, the two Bloomberg Law articles alone demonstrate the ease of the equation.  True collaboration will make firms coordinated, efficient, balanced and competitive and you’d be hard pressed to find a client who is not willing the pay full rates for a firm like that.

I found the story in today’s Legal Intelligencer on Law Firm Competitive Intelligence interesting. 
I noticed a few points (yes I know, surprising isn’t it?) after reading this that I think bear a bit of discussion.  Here are my perspectives, which are based on 20 years as a CI professional as well as the Co-chair of the CI Caucus of the American Association of Law Libraries.

First of all, CI in law firms is not dumpster diving or spying.  Anthony Pellicano did not practice CI.  The art of CI (and yes, I consider it to be an art form) is to find available information, analyze it based on the strategic and cultural context of the firm and provide conclusions that enable the firm to be successful operationally as well as in acquiring new business.  Since this context can vary between firms and from moment-to-moment, the same information can have different meanings in different circumstances.  It’s up to the CI professional to provide the interpretation.  Information can be obtained in many legal ways, ways that don’t require wiretapping or reconstructing shredded information from the trash.  It is, first and foremost, an ethically driven process.  In fact, the Society of Competitive Intelligence Professionals (SCIP) emphasizes the ethical nature of CI here.

Second, CI in law firms is not new.  As I said at the beginning, I am proud to have been a CI professional for about 20 years, 14 of them in the law firm environment.  In 2006, an article discussing CI in law firms was written and published in the National Law Journal by my colleague Jan Rivers.  The over 300 members of the Competitive Intelligence Caucus also indicates that this is much more established in the legal industry than is commonly thought, at least as indicated by the Legal Intelligencer article.

Third, CI is often confused with Business Development or the acquiring of new business.  However, this definition ignores the most important part of CI, the competitive in Competitive Intelligence.  CI is the part that focuses on identifying your competition and determining how best to position the firm to compete with them.  Without this piece, the firm cannot ultimately be successful in acquiring new business.  As ably pointed out in the Legal Intelligencer article by my colleague Zena Applebaum, CI in Law Firms became more important in 2008 when it started to become obvious with firms that they needed to compete to survive.

There were also concerns expressed in the article about the quality of the legal industry data available.  The fact that this was expressed concerns me.  In my experience, the data quality isn’t any different from the data relied on by corporate decision makers.  As I mentioned above, the CI professional’s role is to evaluate and interpret the available data.  All data, regardless of quality, can provide useful indicators and should not be written off.  Robust and useful CI is not dependent on data quality.  Rather, it is dependent on analysis and interpretation.

CI in law firms is an established part of the operation of the law firm business.  As in most business, the importance of knowing your competition and industry at more than an anecdotal level has made CI integral to this business. 

This post originally appeared on the LexisNexis UK Future of Law Blog under the title Stealing the market: The degree that now has infinite value.

Image [cc] – doozle

On 17 October I saw Daniel B. Rodriguez, Dean of the Northwestern University School of Law, speak at the ARK Knowledge Management in the Legal Profession conference.  His presentation explained how some of the challenges that we are experiencing in law firms have trickled down to the law schools, and he gave some examples of how they are adjusting their approach and curricula to better prepare their students for the “new normal”.  One of the solutions he described was partnering with other schools to provide joint degrees. Since the economic downturn, Northwestern has reduced the number of traditional JD-only students, but has increased the size of their JD/MBA dual degree program. He also expressed an interest in partnering with a medical school to develop a JD/MD curriculum, and he made a passing mention of possibly doing something with “the humanities”.

I wholeheartedly applaud the joint degree approach. In my opinion, there is a severe lack of basic business understanding among lawyers. The fact that the phrase “not all revenue is profitable” often requires a lengthy explanation is a good indication that attorneys need more business training.  The JD/MD seems a little less immediately applicable, except of course to medical and health care law, but anything that gets attorneys to see how other people think is probably a good thing.  Which brings me to “the humanities”.  As a former music major, I can say the JD/MFA in vocal performance, or piano pedagogy, will probably have limited application; however, there is joint degree program that I believe could provide infinite value to attorneys, firms, and clients: a JD/MA in Design.

In BigLaw, the phrase “Who else is doing this?” is so common a response to any new idea, that it has officially become cliché.  We have a tendency to focus heavily on what our competitors are doing. Unfortunately, we only perceive other BigLaw firms as our direct competitors.  We benchmark our businesses against similarly sized firms that think, act, and are run, very much like we are.  Meanwhile, there are a number of firms, and non-firms, providing legal services that are so far beneath our radar that they might as well be underground and they are beginning to get traction with our client base.  Unless we are careful, they will eat away at that base from the bottom, until we are fighting over the last scraps of global legal work that these smaller firms can’t handle.  But of course, by that point, they’ll be able to handle the big global work too.
There are numerous precedents for this kind of race to the top of the ladder, while an unexpected or unrecognized competitor dismantles the ladder from the bottom up.  Most famously in the US airline industry, where traditional airlines bench-marked exclusively against each other while low cost airlines like Southwest and JetBlue stole their market from the bottom.  

Incidentally, the epithet “low cost airline” is a bit of a misnomer.  While these companies do indeed offer lower priced tickets than traditional airlines, they have stolen much of the market by out-designing their predecessors. They designed new customer experiences, and new business models, while the old guard was focused on what all of other big airlines were doing.  Frankly, these “low cost” airlines have a better product that many consumers prefer, and they happen to deliver it at a much better price. And today, there are only two US airlines bigger than Southwest. They are the last two standing after a series of bankruptcies and mergers.

I think BigLaw faces a similar fate – not tomorrow, or next week, or next year, but that future is out there waiting for us – unless we begin to design new legal products, new customer experiences, and new business models that make those products and experiences profitable. We need to fight for the bottom and the middle of the market, if we hope to continue to provide our premium services at the top. I would probably start by hiring people with joint JD and design degrees, or even, maybe just the design degrees.

Image [cc] ByronNewMedia

While prepping for a workshop on this morning, I began to think about the types of business development, client relations and competitive intelligence questions that are commonly asked at law firms, and how they tend to almost always be reactive in nature. Take the question of a partner coming to the development/intelligence team and asking:

We are looking at bringing in Bob Smith from Mega-Firm, LLC, can you check him out for us?

What this question is actually saying is this:

We’ve already made a lot of decisions on bringing in this guy Bob Smith from Mega-Firm, LLC. We’ve done a bit of investigation (read: one of us worked with him a while back), but we thought we’d get a bit of verification that he’s an okay lawyer and will fit into the firm. That way, if he doesn’t work out, we can point to your report and cover our you-know-what and say that we “properly vetted” him. So, can you check him out for us?

Maybe that’s a bit over the top, but you can see that bringing in your development and intelligence (D&I) teams this late into the process shows that either your D&I teams aren’t part of the overall strategic goals of your firm, or the strategy wasn’t considered properly when the decision was made to bring in Bob Smith as a lateral hire.

So, what’s the proper question? Part of that answer isn’t so much about the question itself, but rather, at what point in the process is a question presented to your D&I teams? If the D&I teams are really a part of the firm’s strategic operations, the question needs to be asked before Bob’s name is even in the running as a lateral hire. If the D&I teams are part of the process, Bob may never have even entered into the equation at all. A more strategic question to ask might be this:

We are looking to beef up our IP Litigation practice in the Northwest United States, what potential clients are out there for that region, and who do we have within the firm to handle this initiative? If we don’t have someone in the firm, who would be the top five laterals we should be looking for to help us accomplish this objective?

One of the primary purposes of having development and intelligence professionals is to help put your firm on at a competitive advantage over peer firms. So, if the strategic goal is to “beef up” a practice in a certain geographic area, then the D&I teams’ purpose is to analyze the competition in that area, determine who are the main players, the trends forecasted for this type of legal practice, and what it would take to make our firm better than what exists in that region. This purpose cannot be obtained when they are left out of the intial strategy.

Image [cc] mandiberg

I usually read articles written by vendors with a grain of salt, but I think that Thomson Reuter’s Dave Whiteside’s article, “Stop Doing the Legal Limbo” has some good food for thought in it, and it plays into what we discuss here on this blog when it comes to Librarians playing a bigger role in Business Development.

My suggestion is to read the article first and then come back to this part that I think helps explain it in the Librarian/Marketing/KM/BizDev environment.

… okay… I assume you’ve read it.

I’ll reword some key pieces of what Dave Whiteside wrote just a little bit to fit the concept of a law firm’s ability to research, market and sell it services:

  • How do we help attorneys get to know the potential client before they meet?
  • Are we preparing the attorney to better understand the potential client’s business?
  • What do we do to help the attorney understand the client’s industry and competitors?
  • How do we get current awareness information to the attorneys to help them keep up with upcoming issues and trends that impact the potential client’s business?
  • Do we have an comprehensive method of clearly explaining the relevant experiences that the attorney and/or the firm has that will guide the potential client who faces the same problem?
  • What type of training do we give to our attorneys to help them explain how our services don’t just help with short term needs, but we are also there to advise in ways that help General Counsel better direct their company in avoiding future legal issues?

Whiteside hands out a laundry list of Thomson Reuters products that can help, but I wanted to be more generic and think of the process instead of the specific products and see if there are things we already have in place that we could leverage to get to the goals listed above:

  • What do we use to organize our collective experiences and help attorneys explain how those previous experiences are specifically why the client should hire us?
  • How do we determine where we stand in these issues compared to our peers?
  • Where do we find our individual relationships between members of the firm and the potential client. How do we present this in an actionable way to the attorney?
  • What type of controls do we have in place that helps manage matters as well as helps quickly identify inefficient or unprofitable work?

I’ll add one more to this list that I think is very important:

  • What processes do we have in place that reviews matters once they are over and helps better prepare other attorneys in the firm for the next time?

There are a number of opportunities here for Librarians, Marketing, KM, Biz Dev, Client Development, and many others on the Administrative side of the law firm. I bet that almost all of you have some, but not all, of resources already in place at your firms. The key with something like this is that there has to be a process started of getting the right people, information, resources, and tools aligned so that it becomes a standard at your firm, and not just a one-off project that only comes into play when an attorney comes in with an “emergency” request because they are meeting with the potential client in 30 minutes.

Ben Gilad, noted competitive intelligence theorist once wrote something to the effect of “bird watching is a fun hobby, but you shouldn’t do it in the middle of a busy highway.” Greg’s last post about needing investigative reporters on staff is to me a bit like bird watching on a highway. I see the point, even the theoretical beauty, but it also potentially dangerous.  In this case, not to the bird watcher but to me and those in the industry like me – the competitive intelligence practitioner. 

As CI practitioners it our jobs to be the guardrails at the top the cliff, to identify the early warning systems for both the firm (business of law) and clients (the practice of law).  It is our mandate to embed ourselves in practices, to keep the pulse of the firm, monitor the outside world and bring it into the firm to make decision making better, easier, smarter.  It is our jobs to make sure that client interaction happens with the most current and relevant information on hand. 

The scariest, though not entirely surprising part of the post for me, was the notion that firms use a myriad of business development and competitive intelligence resources and tactics to attempt to provide proactive service.  What is scary about that you might ask? The perception that this is not happening, and that there are tools and tactics not people, training programs and processes behind the service.  CI, is still seen, even by prolific law office management as being a set of tools and tactics, rather than a highly skilled group of people.  This is where we have failed our firms.  It is a bit like suggesting that the library as a place is providing information rather than the librarians and other information professionals who work there. How many times have you heard in firms “oh, the library (meaning the people but referencing the place) can get that for you”.

The jury is still out on whether CI is in fact a profession or a series of competencies, but one thing is clear, there are firms doing CI just as described in the post. It is not merely about access to databases, data manipulation and current awareness.  There are law firm CI practitioners (be they librarians, BD people or otherwise) who are embedded in practices, providing quarterly analysis, monthly reports and the like.  Just as there are law firm librarians who are great at asking questions – using their reference interview skills to verify fact and figures just as a journalist would do.

I will concede however, that despite our best efforts there is something missing. And it may well be the concept of training, certification or even recognition of a CI as an actual discipline rather than a series of tactics and tools.  This might be where journalism as a known and classic trained discipline can supercede.    There are many consulting firms out there (I won’t name names, but send me a note if you want some referrals) who will work with Librarians, Business Development folks, and CI people to set up current awareness portals staffed by real analysts (some even former journalists) on the other end – people – who can provide the extra layer of analysis the Investigative Journalist post envisions.  Many of these same consultancies will work with firms to provide primary research to back up secondary findings, but the thing that is missing is a road map.  The plan if you will, for how to take CI farther in firms, moving it away from market research, data crunching and analysis frameworks towards being the strong, recognized and necessary guardrail it is designed to be.

So while I welcome out of work investigative journalists to join the ranks of law firm support staff along with the librarians, business development people and others being downsized across industries and professions, in true CI fashion, I must as act as the guardrail here and suggest that until firms know where they are going, its best not to get caught watching the birds. [Zena Applebaum]

Image [cc] Cory Holms

A couple of weeks ago, I sat in on a webinar with a number of Alternative Fee Arrangement folks, including consultants and General Counsels from a few major companies. The talk was the typical discussion of change in the industry, need to adjust the billing structure, AFAs… yada yada yada… the legal industry is saved from itself. However, there was one little nugget of information that came out of the discussion that made me think about how we in the law firms communicate with our clients, and how that communication frustrates clients because we are reactive in our approach to our clients’ needs, rather than proactive. Although I’m paraphrasing, here is the gist of what was said on the webinar by the General Counsel:

One of the things that really frustrates me when dealing with my outside counsel is when we get sued and over the next few days I start receiving a steady stream of emails from those outside firms, as well as other firms that aspire to do work for us, saying:

“Hey, did you know you’ve been sued in ‘X’ Court by ‘Y’ plaintiff?? Please contact us to help you with this case.”

First of all, HELL YEAH I KNOW WE’VE BEEN SUED!! This type of communications of after-the-fact issues doesn’t help me as a General Counsel.
What I really want to see one day in my in-box is this from my outside counsel is:

“Did you know that your direct competitor, ‘X’ Company, was sued in ‘Y’ court for the following issues, because they were exposed the the following risk factors, and if you think you and your company may be exposed to those same factors, let’s sit down and talk about what we can do to mitigate those risks before you are sued for the same issues.”

That’s what I want to see!

It’s similar to what I heard Richard Susskind say at the AALL Conference this week about the fact that law firms need to be acting as guardrails at the top of a cliff, and not as ambulances at the bottom of that cliff.
As a librarian, and as someone that thinks about how we can get the right information to the right people, at the right time, I started to think about ways that we could help our attorneys get that type of information and can become a risk guardrail for their clients. I thought of all of the Business Development and Competitive Intelligence resources and tactics that we use, and in a way, we are set up to do this very type of proactive communications, and we can be there to help the attorneys spot issues that affect specific clients, their competitors and their industry. However, there is one area that I think we could actually use help with when compiling this information, and I’ve been bouncing an idea around in my head (as well as bugging anyone at the AALL Conference in Boston who would listen to me.) The idea is that what we really need on staff is a reporter.

There are a couple of reasons why I think a reporter would be valuable. First of all, reporters are great at fact gathering, but they are really good at analyzing those facts and coming out with a clear story at the other end. They are also not afraid to pick up the phone and call people to verify issues and obtain additional details that aren’t laid out in the fact set. The second reason that I thought about bringing reporters in on staff is the fact that they are suffering, as a profession, probably on a greater scale than any other information professional, and there are some great experienced reporters out there that are needing work. 

Here’s my rough idea… feel free to poke holes in it, or add your own ideas if you think I’ve missed a few other opportunities to bring into the fold of a law firm.

I’d like to put a reporter on a project that covers four or five practice groups and have them create a weekly update that covers the important issues that face the clients of those groups. The practice groups would need to narrow the focus of which clients, industries and issues they would like to follow, and they would need to be willing to work with that reporter to make sure he or she stays on top of any new issues that pop up from time to time. The Library staff could also work with the reporter to make sure news alerts, case filings, and other timely information is fed to the reporter throughout the week. At the end of the week, an article (or articles) are written and edited, and then sent on to the practice group. This type of proactive, narrowly focused, reporting can help alert the attorneys on issues that affect their clients, and help them craft a few of those “guardrail at the top of the cliff” emails that the General Counsel said he would like to see.

In a way, this would be like a Law360, or industry specific news type of articles, but crafted specifically for the practice group and its clients. In my discussions with a number of vendors this week, we tried to think of ways that we could purchase this type of narrowly tailored information from vendors, but really couldn’t think of ways that they could serve the large pool of law firms and attorneys, and scale that down in a way that gives them actionable information specifically focused on their practice group, their clients, and their clients’ individual risk exposures. In order to have that, firms need that expertise on staff… and that type of expertise is exactly what a reporter could bring into a firm to help them build proactive guardrails for their clients.

I just finished reading David King Keller’s The Associate as Rainmaker: Building Your Business Brain, and I just want to tear it up–but I mean this in a GOOD way.

Full of checklists and step-by-step guides on how to develop your own business development plan, the appendices alone are worth the $100 sticker price.

By reading this book–with our without hiring a business coach–any associate would be able to lay out their own plan in a matter of a few days.

Broken into four sections, Keller covers:

  • making time for rainmaking
  • creating an optimal state of mind–with real, practical advice
  • business development for shy lawyers
  • rainmaking techniques
  • life as an associate

Keller’s book also includes is an amazing collection of sage advice from the top legal minds in the industry. It would cost a fortune to get all these folks into one room to deliver just some of these insights.

Keller collects a wealth of tips, lists, best practices and wise counsel from some of the top rainmakers at Winston Strawn; Latham & Watkins; and Wilson Sonsini as well as CMOs and marketers from K&L Gates; Connolly, Bove Lodge; and Farella Braun + Martel.

So I may defy my own cardinal rule around books and actually deface this one by ripping out its checklists, action sheets and goal sheets.

Well done, David King Keller. Well done.

If you are interested in getting your own copy, you can purchase the book the the American Bar Association. Because I am NOT sharing.

Back in August, some of you may remember I blogged about the power of news aggregators, asking the question, How Do We Make Them Read? Since that time, I have been watching new aggregators come on to the scene, new products being offered, new interfaces introduced, new pricing models worked out and all the while, I still can’t help but wonder how we make them read. Though, three new trends I am seeing out there in the world of aggregators is getting making the job of getting attorneys to read the news just a bit easier.

  1. Several of the products on offer, have started to include robust back end analysis and metrics with the aggregators. Clients (especially people like me in the competitive intelligence community) want to know who is reading, when they read and what articles have my clients clicked all the way through to read the full text. What are the trending topics of interest with a particular practice. Then I can be a step closer to understanding the issues of interest and how can I turn that into action, or identify a lead. Library Services, meet Business Development.
  2. Semantic analysis, though it can never replicate the human element completely (more on this in item #3). Some of the aggregator out there such as Digimind are offering a semantic analysis with the tool. The accuracy can be hit or miss on the tone owing to the algorithms and taxonomy, but it is nice to have a baseline for what you are reading, coded right into the article and interface. Certainly when helps to know if all the press on a given client is negative, or even perceived as such even if it is only 60-75% of the time. Maybe some crisis management or litigation is in coming down the pipe….Public Relations, meet Business Development.
  3. The most intriguing offering to me at the moment is the pairing of aggregators with other industry professionals. There have been others, but the most recent to come to mind is that of ShiftCentral announcing earlier this month, that former lawyer turned law firm CMO Mark E. Young, has joined the aggregator to head up what they are calling an Intelligence Agency. Competitive Intelligence meets Marketing.

As I sit with partners and watch their inboxes fill up with newsletters/bulletins/internals blogs and other informaton/intelligence items we have aggregated, I still can’t help but wonder how we’ll make the shift from better packaging and synthesis to action. News aggregators, like the ones reviewed in the past, or mentioned here today, certainly can take us part of the way. I think we are almost there…but the rest….