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Event review: Changing face of corporate information services

Loyita Worley, Senior Manager of Library Operations at Reed Smith, reviews last week’s SLA Europe event “The changing face of corporate information services – new service models and partnerships“:

The turn out for this seminar was impressive, no doubt as everybody was agog to hear what was going to be said about the latest outsourcing developments in the legal information world – a subject close to all information professionals’ hearts in the current economic climate. The timing could not have been better.

The evening took the form of a panel session chaired by Stephen Phillips of Morgan Stanley and comprising Liam Brown the CEO of Integreon, Greg Simidian the CEO of perfect Information, Kate Stanfield the then Head of Knowledge Management at CMS McKenna and Sarah Fahy, the Head of Global Library Services at Allen & Overy. It was all the more interesting as two days later – from 1st April – Kate became the Vice President of Knowledge & Research at Integreon and was therefore sitting next to her future employer.

Each of the panellists was asked to share their experience of outsourcing and why it was changing the face of corporate information services. Each of course had a different perspective and Liam in particular commented on the dramatic changes that he had seen in outsourcing models over the years and explained that its application to information services was relatively new. Those on the panel who had already committed to outsourcing were quite positive about it although as the discussion continued it became apparent that many firms are adopting a blended approach of combining outsourcing with internal resources.

Whilst Greg admitted that he doesn’t yet know where he stands, it would have been interesting to hear from someone who had attempted outsourcing and had a less positive message to convey as there still seems to be a lot of uncertainty surrounding it.

One message that came through very clearly was that as information professionals, it is vital that we have the ability to change and adapt our services to meet the challenges that surround us if we are to survive – something which we may not have been very good at in the past. We need to be flexible and to be able to make a difference to the firms we support. Looked at from this perspective, outsourcing is just one of the tools at our disposal to help achieve a good outcome.

It is early days for some of the outsourcing projects represented by the panellists so it would be interesting to speak to them again a couple of years down the line to see whether the reality has matched the strategy. It was however an interesting and thought provoking evening and encouraged as much discussion after the session as it had during – always a good sign.

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Thank you to Loyita for providing her perspective of the evening. Several other attendees have also blogged about this event:

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