Corporate Library Integration

A large, global services firm needed to improve the performance of its twelve national and international libraries. Each library had multiple information professional staff and numerous silo’d content contracts with large vendors such as Reuters, Dow Jones and McClatchy. The services that each library offered to its local users were overlapping with the other libraries and information vendor contracts were highly redundant. ECMS and social media technologies were not integrated into the library functions greatly reducing access to vital analyses for the libraries internal customers, the firm’s client-facing professionals. And because each local library provided similar but redundant services, there was little time available for the information professional to fully understand the information needs of the firm’s client service personnel.. The same work was being repeated by the firm’s different libraries because there was no way to coordinate efforts.

The libraries were quickly losing their relevance to the organization. While budgets increased every year, the value that internal uses saw from the local information professionals decreased. The highly trained information professionals quickly were becoming irrelevant as frustrated internal users purchased costly Internet research from external information professionals to do the work of the internal firm’s libraries.

The client asked InFuture LLC to rethink the role of the twelve local and international libraries and help them design a Share Services model. InFuture LLC was tasked with reducing the overall costs by 25%, greatly increasing the services provided by the libraries to the client-facing staff and improving the library response time by 40%.

InFuture LLC worked with client leadership to first re-negotiate content vendor contracts to greatly reduce their costs. Next, new (but inexpensive) ECMS and social media technologies were quickly introduced that allowed the libraries’ information professionals to store and share their past research between libraries and across the firms personnel.

Client-facing personnel were also provided access and allowed to comment directly on the research, improving its quality over successive iterations. Use of external information professional services dropped by 75%. Finally, the roles of the information professionals were converted from generalists to specialists, which allowed them to direct support the client-facing personnel on firm complex engagements. It also helped them move from a reactive to a proactive support model. Total costs were reduced by almost 30% and the quality of the information provided to the firm’s personnel was greatly enhanced and improved.

Today the corporate libraries are seen as a key firm asset contributing to the company’s overall success.