Change, adapt and capitalise

Perfect Information's conversations with professionals highlight the challenges of fulfilling increased customer expectations with diminishing resources.

At the end of 2010 we sat down with about 50 senior information managers from a range of sectors, including banking, legal and professional services over a series of breakfast networking sessions.   We wanted to explore the key issues at the heart of the information and knowledge industry and gain insight into the challenges and changes currently facing those who work within the sector. 

This research was then used in the development of the programme for our forthcoming annual conference, PIC 2011.    We originally launched the conference following feedback from the industry that suggested there was a need for a practical and hands-on conference for information and knowledge managers.    This year's will be our eighth conference.

Broadly speaking, our research revealed more optimism in the industry than there has been recently although participants were being challenged by declining resources and increased expectations.   Key themes identified by the research include:

  • dealing with internal clients
  • changing legislation and regulation
  • vendor relationship management
  • technology
  • personal development

On a more granular level, topics raised in the research include SharePoint (a need for further understanding of integration potential); the changing legislation and regulation within the corporate sector; Social media in the workplace; working with suppliers to ease the burden of time constraints; offshoring, outsourcing and onshoring; the creation of self service cultures; time management, defining value; project management skills; managing mixed teams (permanent, temporary and outsourced); working alongside other internal servicing departments; emerging opportunities

As ever, the desire to strengthen soft skills was on the agenda for most participants.  However this was overshadowed by the need to find time in which to fit in personal development.  Among the core soft skills most frequently discussed were:  industry and internal mentoring; sector research and improving writing and reporting skills; skill set alignment with new industries and roles; and exploring options for post working life.  These topics and others will be explored and discussed at PIC 2011. 

Throughout the process of creating the programme, it became obvious that optimism and ambition have crept back into the city.  Suppliers and clients have the opportunity to work together to capitalise on the potential opportunities that the changing economic climate, and technological developments, are creating.

Carley Donegan is the Head of Communications and Events at Perfect Information.

Photo courtesy of Jaume Meneses via Flickr