With our focus on understanding our clients’ needs and staying up to date on their implementations and successes, we at Lucidea enjoy a unique opportunity to learn about the major challenges special librarians and knowledge managers are facing. As well as underpinning our R&D efforts, this allows us to share current best practices and fruitful strategies with information professionals around the world.
During our conversations with clients, prospective clients and information management professionals across the globe, we note that the same six challenges keep surfacing, no matter the organization size, sector or geography. In 2016, these obstacles to ILS and KM success are:
- I have limited access to my company’s full portfolio of knowledge assets and no way to control or leverage it. As a result, our library’s relevance and influence are shrinking.
- I am unable to demonstrate the value of KM to my organization.
- I am unable to provide my customers with direct access to sensitive/mission-critical content—the library is seen as a bottleneck.
- Everything is stuck in my library system because we can’t integrate with other applications; I’m getting pressure from IT to export our data.
- I’m stuck with costly reliance on both my vendor and my IT department.
- We need to upgrade our KM solution, but I can’t afford a big system and I’m tired of looking at one ILS after the other; they are all the same.
|Shrinking relevance and influence||Low priority, not tied to organizational strategy, underutilized, supplanted by another department/other initiatives|
|KM not perceived as valuable||Underfunded, department labeled as just a cost center, not associated with cost savings or revenue generation|
|Library seen as barrier to accessing sensitive yet mission-critical content||You have the content, but without a system that guarantees secure access and robust permissions, that doesn’t matter|
|ILS/KM system doesn’t integrate with other enterprise systems||IT is likely to develop another repository for enterprise HR/Finance/Customer data, outside your sphere|
|Dependence on IT and vendor(s) for every upgrade or change||Cannot keep pace with user expectations and demand, and fall behind with industry standards and innovations—resulting in users going elsewhere|
|Options are costly and still generic||With real, powerful solutions seen as “out of reach,” inertia takes over …and IT will make the decision for you|
As you can see, without solutions to the “6 in 2016,” the results aren’t good for your department or for your organization.
Here’s what I believe: if you tackle the 6th problem, “ILS/KM options are too costly and anyway they’re all the same,” solutions to the other challenges will surely follow.
Here’s what I know: there definitely are ILS and KM solutions that are different, that are affordable, and which, like SydneyEnterprise, are purpose-built with the evolving needs of information professionals in mind.
|PROBLEM||SOLUTION DELIVERED BY A PURPOSE-BUILT ILS/KM APP|
|Shrinking relevance and influence||With an ILS/KM application that offers direct connections to pre-existing content, you can aggregate and deliver access to all your organization’s knowledge assets through a single venue, with real-time updating, personalization options and a structure that uses your own taxonomy and metadata|
|KM not perceived as valuable||A system that gives you the ability to capture metrics on any/all of your key performance and usage indicators, express them through an easily configurable dashboard, and generate custom management reports, lets you discover and make visible the connections between organizational performance and knowledge assets|
|Library seen as barrier to accessing sensitive yet mission critical content||When your ILS/KM application offers robust, built-in content security and permissions management, including integration with your existing security backbone (e.g., Active Directory, ADFS), the IT department can endorse your solution and you’ll be at the forefront of content access|
|ILS/KM system doesn’t integrate with other enterprise systems||In your effort to unleash the full power of your organization’s knowledge assets, it’s vital that your library system isn’t yet another silo. Your application should provide data sharing tools such as a robust API, import/export capabilities, and even social sharing aids such as persistent URLs that link users directly to content even at file attachment level|
|Dependence on IT and vendor(s) for every upgrade or change||Your ILS/KM solution should be built to support growth and innovation while allowing you to easily design your own database configuration and content views, and leverage functionality that enables information sharing and portal management, without being a coder. The right solution eliminates dependence on IT or vendor support|
If you recognize your own challenges among the “6 in 2016,” I hope the above information is helpful to you as you compare vendors and applications. Special librarians can only do more, with more. Please remember, it’s not true that all your options are costly and still generic; you actually can get more than you imagine, for less than you expect.
Skills for special librarians who telework include setting boundaries to separate work life from home life; suggestions from a freelance consultant
Special librarians increasingly work in virtual settings; there are many free tools to create online resources to information and work virtually
Skills for special librarians include tuning out to avoid burnout; disconnecting from work, taking time every day to revitalize energy and enthusiasm
Skills for special librarians include using the Universal Design for Learning framework to develop meaningful training for users of special libraries