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Information Consulting: Guide to Good Practice
Readership: Aimed at both practitioners and students in LIS studies and MA programmes at business schools, with reference to the new curricula of the academic institutions and the general business practices. The book has great potentials also within the Continuing Professional Education for various groups of professionals because of the international impact and the authorship, the book will be recognized and used in the activities of the main professional international organizations such as SLA, LA, IFLA, SCIP, ASLIB, EUCLID, as well as of the national ones.
- unique client perspective: managers and clients talk about their motivation, experiences and advice in the utilization of information consultants in recent case studies conducted by authors
- current information and guidance based on the authors’ wide-ranging practical experiences and empirical data (through interviews and questionnaires) collected from several countries
- ‘top five’ list of consultants´ qualities is presented
- the international flavour of the book is reinforced by the Cases which are contributions from experienced information professionals active in various countries and environments
- An information professional: to be or not to be
- The possible roles: the demands on which
- information consultants reflect
- Consulting encompasses a wide range of roles and activities
Advantages: why information consulting might appeal to you
- Sense of control over one’s time
- Sense of reward from helping clients
- Satisfaction from leveraging one’s experience
- Freedom from corporate politics
- Freedom to ‘pick and choose’
- No ceilings on your earnings
- Chapter 2 checklist
Challenges: realities to consider
- Uncertainty and anxiety
- Uneven workloads
- Need for fl exibility and being available
- ‘Difficult’ clients
- Proposed location
- Finances: are the necessary resources in place?
- Can you tolerate a slow ramp-up? Should you work part time or subcontract?
- The degree is only the beginning
- Are you a consulting personality?
- Qualities that may trip you up
- Chapter 3 checklist
The starting point: make a business plan
- General company description
- Products and services, their features and benefits
- The outlook for the targeted business sector
- Distribution channels
- Sales forecast
- Identifying costs, funding and fees
- Start-up expenses
- Credit policies
- Chapter 4 checklist
The legal environment
- Intellectual property and copyright
- Ethics and quality
- Code of Professional Conduct for the Information
- Chapter 5 checklist
Building trust and marketing your services
- Understanding makes reputation and detects niches
- Your ‘business attire’: creating and maintaining image
- Professional visibility
- Word-of-mouth: happy clients do marketing for you
- Electronic promotional brochure
- Chapter 6 checklist
Client relations: the key to success
- The request for proposal (RFP): to bid or not to bid?
- Yes, I can help (informal inquiry)
- Preliminary discussions: what, exactly, are you selling this time?
- A preliminary memorandumvDetermining budget scope
- The formal proposal
- Helping the client’s decision
- Signature in hand: now the work begins
- The art of the client relationship
- Delivering the deliverables: report, presentation, discussion
- Handling invoice issues
- Wrap up … and setting up for the future
Advice from other information consultants
- ‘Just one more clarifi cation’: agreeing to deliverables vs delivering in advance
- Keeping your integrity: what to do if you’re told what to do
- Maintaining poise and neutrality while getting people to open up
- Encountering concerns outside the official project scope
- The unforeseen circumstances
- Who said that? Protecting the trust client staff place in you
- Losing objectivity or being seen as taking sides
- Do you take the money and run when what the client requests disagrees with what you believe is needed?
- Working with clients in the same industry
- Can work be ‘recycled’?
- Coping with the disappointment of burning the midnight oil … only to see the report collecting dust
- You’re good, and don’t you forget it
- Pass it on
Take a leap from being a librarian to becoming an information consultant
- Doing things differently
- Assessing the demands for the information professional
- Culture makes the difference
- Expert practitioner ‘falls into’ consultancy
- Ways of repositioning the librarian profession and schools
- Chapter 9 checklist
The clients speak: from a client’s perspective
- The motivation to use an information consultant
- How to find the right consultant
- The ‘top fi ve’ list of consultants’ qualities
- Clients’ advice for future consultants
Appendix: Case studies
- Case study 1: change management through the development of a new thesaurus
- Case study 2: information professional projects on current awareness bases
- Case study 3: client acquisition with more effective order registering
- Case study 4: managing information and customer care centre
- Case study 5: reorganising information management using process management approach
- Case study 6: a holistic and organised approach to appropriate information consumption and sharing among knowledge workers
- Case study 7: intelligence system at the Corruption Prevention and Strategic Information Secretariat to improve prevention and prosecution of corruption
Annie Joan Olesen, is a Director at A9 Consulting in Denmark and leader of the Ability Europe Ltd., Denmark Branch. She is an experienced consultant with a track record of high quality research and deliverables in national, international and EU engagements. With a focus on preparation, presentation and management of numerous international, national and regional projects with a particular strength of accessing a core network of experts having an excellent knowledge of the PSI market across the EU.
Gábor Mikulás is a Director at GM Consulting in Hungary. He has many years experience in working as information broker and consultant. Mikulás is President of the Association of Hungarian Information Brokers (MIBE) and Publisher of the KIT Hírlevél (Library - Information - Society Newsletter), a free weekly electronic paper for information and library professionals.
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