One of the key relationships in the information business is that between buyers and vendors of information products and services. The relationship often starts out simply as a buyer-seller connection, but because of the complexities of purchasing or licensing content in print or electronic form, the connection typically grows stronger. Negotiating licensing contracts becomes a key component and knowing how to conduct a good negotiation is important for any information professional responsible for obtaining content. Sometimes a more cohesive relationship between buyer and services provider is needed and that is where a partnership comes into play.
On Tuesday, February 9th, I gave a webcast on these points as part of the SirsiDynix Institute series. The webcast was recorded and you can see it by clicking on the image of my first slide of the presentation below.
Negotiating and partnering with vendors a key skill
You will have to register with the Brighttalk webcasting service to view it if you aren’t already registered, but registration is free and it is likely you will want to play other webcasts in the series as they are a great way to broaden knowledge about information services-related topics. Please make comments about the webcast as I’d be very interested to hear thoughts about it.
In an article in the NY Times about I.B.M.’s continued success due to more focus on services and less on hardware and software, Irving Wladawsky-Berger, a former senior technology strategist for I.B.M., is quoted saying “As the components of technology — especially hardware — become inexpensive and commoditized, you want to focus less on the components and more on how customers want to use technology.” The article is: “Huge Payoff for I.B.M. After a Shift” – http://nyti.ms/62TKeb
Substituting the words information and ‘print materials’ or other formats for content in this quote, I think you get an interesting thought: “As the components of [information] — especially [print materials?] — become inexpensive and commoditized, you want to focus less on the components and more on how customers want to use [information].”
It is very easy for information professionals to focus on managing objects, ensuring they are in their right place for retrieval, etc.. But the harder, and frankly more interesting work that is likely also much more valuable is collaborating with clients to help solve their questions — being an active services provider. Something we should all keep in mind as we see the increasing pace that information is being made available to all via e-books, Twitter and whatever else is on the horizon in our future. It is not about the format, it is about the information in whatever container it happens to reside. With this bit of a shift in focus, which a number of information professionals across all kinds of libraries and services are already doing, our value can be made that much more evident.