In The Power of Pull, authors John Hagel III, John Seely Brown and Lang Davison observe that “information now flows like water and we must learn how to tap into its stream” It is a wonderful metaphor in many ways. Depending on your perspective information is either “abundant” and we lack appropriate filters (nod to Clay Shirky) or information is simply overwhelming. From either perspective there is a lot of it. At the same time the potential business value relevant, timely and contextual information has never been greater. That is the challenge for today’s enterprise: how do you transform the information that is threatening to overwhelm you and make it an asset that powers innovation, competitiveness and productivity? We call this the information value-gap. Closing the value-gap requires new strategies and new tools.
At Attensa we are focused primarily on professional information and content – that is the information and content that drives better business results through innovation, faster more confident business decisions. Historically this type of information was aggregated by large providers (often called premium content providers), indexed topically and delivered through subscription products targeted at specific vertical markets via dedicated interfaces. Increasingly organizations are seeking to augment their high-value premium content sources with content published directly to the Web or created inside the organization through wikis, social business applications, intranets, blogs, micro blogs etc.
The business consequences of harnessing this new paradigm are substantial. In many of our conversations with customers we use the analogy of “plumbing” to describe the requirement of flexible pipes between information sources and delivery locations. With the right plumbing in place information flows more fluidly and reliably from source to desired destination. To make this work effectively information delivery is uncoupled from the source. Multiple sources can combined into topical channels based on the organizations needs rather than the ontologies of the publishers themselves. This requires a centralized point of aggregation and tools filter, organize and deliver topical channels.
For the people receiving information and current awareness updates the benefits of this approach are immediate. Instead of having to sort through multiple, disparate updates provided by separate publishers they can have relevant information from different sources delivered around the specific topics they need.
For information management professionals and special librarians benefits are equally compelling. Using knowledge of the available information and the needs of their business audience they can create targeted steams of information that can be easily consumed.
Addressing the plumbing problem is a key strategy for closing the information value-gap.