Revitalising outsourcing

What are the pros and cons of outsourcing for information professionals?

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Benefits (cont'd)

Service levels

  • Service Level Agreement (SLA) or other method of demonstrating value of service provided
  • Professional evaluation and analysis of services and service levels offered by IM department
  • An audit of information systems provides recommendations for better fit between organisational workflows and the systems that serve them - sometimes involving upgrade or migration of systems
  • Improved perception of service
  • Better communication between libraries and IM centres in multinational organisations
  • Improved digital resources/improved use of digital resources

Other benefits

  • Better management
  • New employees, better skills or more specialist than existing
  • Provision of specifically skilled information management staff to aid the organisation in information discovery and research where it's needed - eg embedding information managers in law firm practice groups.
  • View of bigger picture due to outsourcer's work with other clients
  • Opportunities for existing company staff

Outsourcing can be deployed to great effect selectively in areas from partial/full outsourcing of functions such as records management, library and information services, knowledge management, research and content management to virtual information services.   We know that for outsourcing to be effective it must be aligned with the organisational goals and that the information department's goals complement the corporate goals.  Organisations involved in outsourcing often just want to get on with what they do best (concentrating on their core business competencies) and to outsource necessary library functions to an organisation that concentrates on library and information management.  This allows the organisation to receive and deliver efficient KIM services without being distracted.  We've also found that engagement of staff in the consultation and outsourcing process is important for motivation and morale. Librarians and information managers engaged in the process have typically enjoyed greater focus, increased involvement in what they are good at and improved productivity to their own benefit and that of the firm.  

Established in the USA for over 25 years, information management consultancy and services specialist, LAC Group has recently launched a UK operation serving the UK and other European countries from a base in Oxford.  Iain Dunbar, the UK General Manager, is a seasoned expert in strategic information and asset management and previously held director posts in the library and collections management technology fields.   He welcomes your views on outsourcing and is happy to engage in conversations and debate.  You can contact him via 

Photo courtesy of xx via Flickr.

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