Strategic Librarian

Using strategy to develop the law firm library.

Ark Group – Partnering for Profitability: The Convergence of Business Analytics, Competitive Intelligence and Client Relationship Management

The second session of the Ark Group conference I reported on this morning is titled “Partnering for Profitability: The Convergence of Business Analytics, Competitive Intelligence & Client Relationship Management.”  It was moderated by Joel Alleyne, Chief Information and Knowledge Officer for Borden Ladner Gervais LLP.

Mark Young, Chief Marketing Officer (CMO) at Foley Hoag, introduced the session talking about the business of law in this competitive market. 

Ruth Armstrong, Director of Library and Information Resources at White & Case followed with a description of her firm’s competitive intelligence program.  60% of the work they do in this area is non-US based.  She began working with her firm’s CMO and with the Finance department to determine what their program would look like.

Christine Scherzinger, Director of Library & Research Services described how her library works closely with Marketing to conduct competitive intelligence

Question from Joel: Who has responsibility for CI in the firm?

  • Ruth – The library has primary responsibility.
  • Mark – works collaboratively with the library in his firm.
  • Christine – Marketing has responsibility for setting strategy.  The library supports it.

Ruth described how it is for the library to change in their focus from research focused to business focused. 

In all three cases the library is responsible for the acquisition and management of any resources used for CI.  All agreed there is no place for any turf war between the library and marketing.  The focus should be to work on CI as a collaborative team.  Expect it to take time to work out all the details of how the team will work.

The group as a whole discussed the issue of a library that had responsibility for the whole CI process but were short staffed and the staff in the library were not trained to do the analysis.  Many of the participants said they saw that as an opportunity and not as a problem.  The reverse where the library is left out of the process is the real problem.  Work with your management to justify additional staff (tough to do in this economy) and participate in training to develop analytical skills.

Question from Joel to the group:

  • How many of your firms have an active CI process – 12 out of 29 participants in the room.
  • Which of you have the prime role of CI – 2 firms

Question from group about how to develop the report formats.   Panelist response:  It takes time to determine the best formats and whatever we create will change over time. 

Summary from Joel.  The panelists brought 3 different prospectives.  One from the marketing department looking at CI from a different viewpoint, one very organized structured program and one that approaches from it in stealth mode.  In any case CI is a great opportunity for libraries.

This was another thought provoking presentation and discussing.   Next presentation: Protecting the Core – While Being Strategic.

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