Tuesday, December 6, 2011

Commonly Outsourced Information Management Functions (Part 1 of 4)

First and foremost, outsourcing information management (IM) doesn’t have to be all or nothing; Outsourcing of some library and information management services is already an accepted and common practice in every library today in the public sector, as well as most in-house, legal and government repositories. Most executives and IT managers now approach outsourcing from the perspective of a long-term strategic business practice to reduce costs, and increase workflow efficiencies and enhanced services for their customers and employees. Outsourcing IT functions is an invaluable option available within the library services industry, allowing businesses to not only jump over new technological hurdles much faster, and at a reduced cost, but to better control the massive cultural change within their organization when transitioning from a traditional to digital library. One of the biggest challenges is deciding which business functions to contract out, and which to maintain in-house. According to 2011 benchmarks by Outsell, the most commonly outsourced activities fall into the following four categories:

  1. Transactional Activities: Document imaging, cataloging and delivery, and data inquiries and alerting services that are necessary IM functions, but don’t necessarily increase revenues.
  2. Tactical Enterprise Information Management Functions: Complex queries and research, and archive and records management that require understanding from a business and technology perspective.
  3. Outside Expertise Required: Expertise is often not available in existing IM staff for information analysis, and management of enterprise information architecture.
  4. User training: Information and technology providers commonly handle in-house user training.    

These four categories of outsourced IM functions are all common responsibilities associated with both Physical and Digital Asset Managers, whether an employee or contractor. So in Part-2 of this series, I will outline the hiring and contracting options available to you so you can properly plan and expand your business into the digital marketplace.  

Blog 1 of 4 Reference:
OUTSELL, Making Information Management Outsourcing Work: Success Factors and Best Practices, by Roger Strouse (Jan 17, 2011)

“To know where you can find anything, that in short, is the largest part of learning.” - Anonymous

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