Strategic Librarian

Using strategy to develop the law firm library.


LAC Group & Rapid Research Solutions: R2S

LAC_LogoI’ve made a few career changes over the last few years, but nothing compares to what I am currently doing.  I was asked to join LAC Group last year and was very excited to start in July after discussions with law librarian, founder, and CEO, Deb Schwarz, and industry veteran and COO, Rob Corrao.  What I’ve found since I started is that LAC Group is as innovative and dynamic as they both told me.

LAC Group started out as a law library consultancy in Los Angeles and has since grown into an international company that serves law firms but also serves government, corporations, financial services, professional services, academia, and broadcast and media.  Often thought of as a recruiting company,  LAC Group is much more as it offers consulting, information management, and expense reduction services.  Each of those areas cover many types of services.  You can view the LAC Group website to learn more.

As Senior Director of Legal Market Services, I provide consulting to law firms but I have another responsibility that I think demonstrates how innovative LAC Group really is.  While we’ve always provided research services, in 2012 we took it a step further with the introduction of a new service called Rapid Research Solutions: R2S.  With R2S, we provide both on-demand and in-depth research services complete with a research portal.   As the manager of the service, I worked on the initial launch of the service with Michele Lucero joining me in October as Director of Business Development and Client Services.  Since then we’ve been meeting with law firm library directors and staff across the country extolling the service’s virtues – and there are many.

A research portal is part of the R2S offering.  It allows users to make a request, track the progress of the request, and retrieve the results in the format the firm has specified.  A recent press release explains more about it – LAC Group Introduces the R2S Portal to Support its On Demand Research Business.


Competitive Intelligence Analysis: I’ve Done the Research – Now, What Do I Do With It?

In today’s increasingly competitive environment, businesses need to be able to convert the wealth of data and information available into intelligence for decision making and subsequent actions.  This conversion is acomplished through analysis.  Register now to join us in a webinar called “Competitive Intelligence Analysis:  I’ve Done the Research – Now, What Do I Do With It?” that will be held on Wednesday, March 24, 2010 from Noon to 1PM Central.  This webinar will introduce the concept of analysis as part of the intellingence cycle, discuss several analytical techniques, such as industry analysis, competitor analysis and SWOT.  Real world examples will be provided as well as example templates so that participants can begin to immediately use their learnings. During the session, you will:

• Understand how the analysis phase interacts with the rest of the intelligence system
• Determine the role analysis plays in producing decision-oriented intelligence reports
• Learn how to evaluate analytical tools for different CI requirements

Cost:  $30 per person USD or $60 USD for groups of up to 10 from the same firm

Speaker:

Kristy Morley, Senior Manager, Business/Competitive Intelligence, Pfizer Nutrition
Currently part of Pfizer, Kristy Morley began her career in pharmaceuticals when she joined Wyeth (formerly American Home Products Corporation) in 1997, in the Nutrition Division.  She initially began as a Project Manager in the New Product & Process Development Group.  Kristy made the move to competitive intelligence in 2001, serving the the Nutrition Research group with competitor R&D pipeline tracking.  The function grew and was moved to the Marketing group in 2006.  The CI group currently provides intelligence consulting, expertise, and oversight to brand teams, new product groups, and Senior Management. Prior to joining Wyeth, Kristy spent five years at Avebe America, Inc and holds a B.S. in Food Science and Technology. She has been a member of SCIP since 2001 and is a graduate from the Gilad-Herring Academy of Competitive Intelligence, and currently serves as a member of the SCIP Philadelphia Chapter Steering Committee.

Moderator:

Nina Platt, Principal ConsultantNina Platt Consulting, Inc.
Owner and principal consultant, Nina Platt is a law librarian and former AmLaw 100 firm library director who has worked in law firms since 1986.  Her work in library management has spanned all but 4 of those years.  Nina believes the most effective law firm libraries are critical to both the business and practice of law and that achieving to build a business critical library can only be done through the use of business tools like strategic plans, business plans, business cases, and more.  She has written and delivered numerous articles, presentations, and papers on library and knowledge management topics.   

Questions?  Contact awitt@ninaplatt.com


Upcoming Competitive Intelligence webinar

Beginning a new Competitive Intelligence effort at your firm can be a challenging task.  Register for Establishing a Competitive Intelligence Function at Your Law Firm: A Beginner’s Guide to the 4 D’s on February 4, 2010, and the webinar presenters will guide you through the step-by-step process of establishing a CI effort at your firm.  Key assessment activities, needs assessments, information audits and cultural assessments, will be introduced that will enable you to set the foundation of your CI effort.  The day-to-day activities of CI group processes and procedures will be covered as well as tracking your group’s CI effort to make CI measurable to the executive committee.

Key learning points:

  1. Step-by-step process of a CI effort at your firm
  2. Needs, information and firm culture assessments
  3. Tracking CI activities – making CI measurable
  4. CI group processes and projects

Cost:  $30 per person USD or $60 USD for groups of up to 10 from the same firm

Speakers:

Carrie P. Long, MLIS – Research Analyst, Nina Platt Consulting, Inc.
Research analyst, Carrie Long, has a Masters of Library and Information Science and over 10 years of experience in law firms and libraries, with her most recent position in an AmLaw 100 firm as Manager of Research Services. Carrie has extensive experience in managing and executing large, complex Competitive Intelligence (CI) and Research projects in the areas of: law firm and practice area analysis; company and industry analysis; product analysis, market share analysis and prospecting. Carrie’s current clients include:  information services vendors; legal vendors; and law firms.

Barbara Williams, MS – Market Analyst, USM Services 
Barbara Williams has over ten years of progressive and cross industry experience and responsibility in Competitive Intelligence and business development in the online information, legal and facilities management industries. Prior to her current position as Market Analyst at facilities management provider, USM, Barb was a Competitive Intelligence Analyst at Fox Rothschild.  She was responsible for providing in-depth business, industry, and competitive intelligence analysis support to attorneys and practice groups for the 450-attorney firm. At Thomson West, now Thomson Reuters, Barb was the Manager of Competitive Intelligence.  During her tenure with the company, she co-developed the CI function, which provided CI support to market research, marketing, field sales, and new product development initiatives. Barb has additional expertise and experience in product analysis and sales force intelligence.

Moderator:
Nina Platt, Principal Consultant
Nina Platt Consulting, Inc.
Owner and principal consultant, Nina Platt is a law librarian and former AmLaw 100 firm library director who has worked in law firms since 1986.  Her work in library management has spanned all but 4 of those years.  Nina believes the most effective law firm libraries are critical to both the business and practice of law and that achieving to build a business critical library can only be done through the use of business tools like strategic plans, business plans, business cases, and more.  She has written and delivered numerous articles, presentations, and papers on library and knowledge management topics.   

Questions?  Contact awitt@ninaplatt.com


1 Comment

Competitive Intelligence in Law Firms Survey Results

During the end of April and early May of this year, at the request of ILTA Knowledge Management Vice President, Catherine Monte, NPCI asked the directors of the NLJ 250 to respond to a survey regarding how their firms were approaching CI.  With 77 firms responding, we received the following results. 

  •  75.4% are performing some type of competitive intelligence with another 8.8% not doing so yet but are in the planning phase
  • 12.3% have a formal CI program
  • 39.3%  have management or executive committee endorsement
  • 61.5% are seeing the CI request increasing with 7.7% decreasing and 28.2% remaining steady
  • 23.7% are seeing funding for CI increasing with 7.9% decreasing and 55.3% remaining steady
  • 49% of those doing CI research report to the library with 16.3% reporting to marketing, 20.4% reporting to Library/Marketing, 2% reporting to practice group leaders and 20.4% undefined

The following list of resources are those that reporting firms are using to do CI research:

Resources Used In NLJ 250 Law firms for Competitive Intelligence

Bloomberg

Boardex

Capital IQ      

Credit.net       

D&B GRS

Deal Pipeline  

Debt Market

Dialog

Google

Hoovers          

 

Incisive Legal Intelligence

ISI

Lead411

Leadership Directories

Lexis

Lexis AdVantage

Lexis Company Dossier

Lexis Courtlink

Mergent Online

MergerMarket

Newstext

Nexis

OneSource     

PACER

Reference USA

SNL Financial

Thomson Financial Services

VentureSource

West Deal Monitor

West IP Monitor

West Litigation Monitor

Westlaw

Yahoo Finance

 

 

We will be posting additional information from the survey at a future date.  In the meantime, we would love to get your feedback on this information including resources you use that are not on the list above.

~ Nina Platt


3 Comments

RivalMap : Competitive Intelligence Knowledge Management

I ran across a interesting web service recently named RivalMap.  It is a service that provides the following functionality (according to their website).

RivalMap is web-based collaboration software that gives companies a central place to share and address information about competitors and their industry. If your company spends any time watching competitors and their activities, RivalMap will make the management and communication of competitive information much easier and more effective.

After signing up for the free service that allows 3 users access with the ability to create unlimited workspaces, I set up a workspace for my own company.  The cost of the service jumps to $49 for 5 users, $99 for 10 users and $199 for 25 users.  Besides giving access to more users, the fee-based service provides storage for file sharing and SSL Security.  Enterprise licensing is available as well.

Upon entering the workspace, which I titled Competitors for lack of imagination, I was presented with a Dashboard that would later provide me a chart of competitors by threat level and the latest activity.  Other tabs on the menu which, stretched across the top of the screen, included:

Competitors: This tab allows you to create entries for your company and for any competitors you specify.  A sub-menu provides tabs for Competitors, Products, and Concerns.

  • Competitors – Create a posting for each competitor that includes name, website address, profile, concerns, clippings, notes, customers, and a SWOT analysis. 
    • Concerns are comments about specific threats the competitor may present. 
    • Clippings are articles or web posts worth noting. 
    • Notes are just that – free form notes about the competitor. 
    • Customers provides detailed records on the competitor’s customers including customer name, location, market segment, sales amount, date of sale, description of sale and website. 
    • SWOT provides the ability to list strengths, weaknesses, opportunities, and threats faced by the competitor.
  • Products – Create postings for competing products including profile, product name, competitor name, product website, concerns, clippings, and notes. 
  • Concerns – Provides a listing of all concerns for all competitors and products providing the ability to list general comments and comments on how the concern will be addressed

Clippings: Described above under Competitors.

Notes: Described above under Competitors.

Customers:  Slightly different from the use of customers above, here you post information about your own customers.  After setting up market segments, you are able to create a post about each segment including notes, clippings, needs, and customers. 

  • Needs – Track segment needs designating them as:
    • Must-Have – a benefit/function that must be present, or the customer will be very dissatisfied
    • One Dimensional: a benefit/function that increases customer satisfaction as it improves
    • Attractive – a benefit/function that is not expected but highly satisfies the customer.
  • Customers – create a posting about each customer including the same information listed above.

Comparisons: This tab allows you to create a matrix that compares competitors by category and attributes.  For example, I could create a category of the services I offer and the attributes each service has.  I could then add competitors.  Following that, I would rate how my company compares to my competitors by category/attribute.  The following screen-shots demonstrate how the matrix would look. 

rmc.jpg

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In addition to providing great information, each tab provides the ability to filter results in multiple ways.

This looks like a very useful service is that would be a valuable addition to any CI program.  One concern is that, like any knowledge management system of its kind, it takes team members willing to take the time to enter content.  The success in using the service will only come with commitment.  As for functionality, a reporting function seems to be missing.  This may be because I was using the free service.  You would definitely want to check that out before subscribing to the service.

 ~ Nina Platt