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5 Reasons Why Businesses Need Knowledge Professionals

It’s fair to say that Softlink Information Centres is biased about libraries and knowledge professionals. Perhaps that’s too simplistic. The truth is that we chose to develop library tools, and why? Because we fundamentally believe that libraries and their knowledge staff play a vital role in a business’s success.

1. Managed Knowledge has a Business Value

In today’s highly competitive environment, knowledge is a valuable commodity. Its value is predicated on the creation of, access to, and the application of, valid information. Business thrives when well-managed, valid data is accessible and shared across the enterprise.

Information (or knowledge) professionals are skilled in all aspects of information management, including statistics and analysis. They are data literate. They teach information management in universities, apply it in libraries of all types and in public and private business – it is their speciality.

A 2014 ALIA study estimated that the return on investment in libraries was significant. In special libraries, it was $5.43 for every dollar invested. For health libraries, it was even higher at $9.00. It makes sound financial sense for businesses to invest in libraries and staff!

2. Information Professionals are an Insurance Policy

Some businesses have failed, or suffered significant setbacks, due to uninformed decision-making. What price is the insurance of knowledge professionals? Softlink IC would argue they are more cost effective than going out of business!

Knowledge professionals source and manage valid information. That, in turn, can prevent adverse outcomes for a business. Continuing to operate the same way based on assumptions is a flawed business plan. Knowledge staff never assume anything.

Globalization and technology have significantly affected the business landscape, and the knowledge sector. Knowledge professionals have been keeping up with rapid change for decades.

Think of them as insurance against possible obsolescence and an effective way to remain competitive.

3. Information Professionals do Competitive Intelligence

Taking risks is a part of sustaining business growth and longevity. But, they should be informed risks based on gathering as much market information as possible. It is essential for any business that wants to compete and grow. Knowledge professionals do competitive intelligence well.

Competitive intelligence is a skill they bring to their business. They know the right questions to ask to understand the needs of decision-makers clearly. They source the required information efficiently, then analyse and generate the necessary reports. The intelligence they can efficiently source includes:

  • Competitor profiles
  • Market and industry trends
  • New technologies
  • Statistics and projections
  • Regulation requirements and amendments
  • Demographic changes
  • Projected costs

4. Information Professionals Understand the Value of Internal Information

Most businesses not only consume information, they generate it. Managing internally generated data is essential. The data generated could include:

  • Legal or medical cases
  • Thought leadership and research documents
  • Intellectual property
  • Marketing and training material
  • Managerial and procedural documents
  • Patents

If there is no knowledge professional, who is responsible for managing internally generated data? How is it curated, stored, secured, and made accessible to employees?

It can become a high cost to a business in time and money if employees cannot find the information they need quickly, if at all.

5. Information Professionals Understand Digital Content

Increasingly, information is being generated in digital format. It can be downloaded from websites for free or available for purchase. Businesses create digital data that can be posted on their sites. Information in digital formats include:

  • Podcasts
  • On-line marketing material
  • Training videos

There is a risk of duplication, loss, and damage. For future access and re-purposing, digital-born resources need to be stored, annotated, updated and preserved.

Digital formats change and could become inaccessible due to unsupported file formats. The need to implement a robust preservation process is critical.

Do many attorneys, doctors, sales staff, business people, or bureaucrats have the skills to source, manage, analyze, and preserve information efficiently? We would argue very few. These are not part of their skill sets.

Knowledge professionals contribute to the survival and growth of their organizations in a competitive environment because managing information is their business.