Whether you are a smaller R&D-intensive organization with an emerging information management need, or a large organization looking to expand services and allow senior information management staff to work more strategically within the organization, engaging highly skilled information management professionals with expertise matched to your organization’s unique needs will help you reach your business objectives.
However, when budgets tighten, hiring freezes become more common, and time and resources to effectively recruit and hire qualified professionals decrease, many organizations struggle to staff these vital positions.
Today, we will explore five reasons organizations turn to outsourcing to grow their information management services, and the benefits that can come with this approach.
1. Add services without adding employee headcount
Information centers can provide a wide range of services, such as acquiring and maintaining access to content resources, training on resource usage and copyright, curating advanced literature searches for safety monitoring and pharmacovigilance, monitoring industry trends and products for competitive intelligence, and licensing XML content for text mining. But without enough staff, the services the information center is able to provide will be severely limited.
Often, it is difficult to get the internal approvals to take on additional headcount, whether due to a general hiring freeze, or because the organization feels additional full-time employees are not necessary. It is often easier to get internal approvals, whether from upper management or procurement, for hiring a contractor or engaging specific services than getting a new head within the company.
Hiring a new employee requires a significant investment of time and resources from Human Resources, as well as the additional costs of employee benefits, onboarding, and long-term professional development. Outsourcing can help you grow your information services, but leave the recruiting, hiring, and managing to an experienced outsourcing organization that will provide payroll, benefits, and a commitment to professional development that will attract high quality candidates.
2. Raise strategic profile of the information center
Information managers, especially solo librarians, are often bogged down with transactional work as they try to provide as many services as possible. From responding to inquiries from researchers, to administering access to seat-based databases, to fixing problems with access to content resources, information professionals do not have the time to think about and participate in advancing the strategic business objectives of the organization without additional help. Outsourcing transactional aspects of information services is a method of freeing up your experienced information manager’s time so they can help advance other key strategic projects.
These types of projects can include:
- Meeting with R&D to develop a content strategy for new areas of research
- Working with pharmacovigilance or safety on literature reviews for adverse event and effects
- Helping bioinformaticians access content for emerging text mining initiatives
- Partnering with knowledge management to develop an unified database of internal and external information, or
- Developing a content monitoring strategy for a global compliance task force.
Once an information manager is free of transactional work, they can provide valuable services and insight to drive forward strategic business goals.
3. Maximize ROI on Content Investments
Information managers spend significant time and energy developing robust content strategies to meet the needs of internal stakeholders, from R&D to regulatory, medical affairs, pharmacovigilance, safety, and competitive intelligence. But if information managers do not have the time to thoroughly raise awareness of their services and the information resources available to researchers throughout the organization, how can they maximize usage of those resources and get the most benefit for the content investment?
Adding additional qualified staff allows the information center to set up a comprehensive plan to drive engagement, by making researchers aware of the content resources and services provided by the information center.
Plans could include:
- Regular trainings on the variety of databases, search tools, and platforms licensed by the organization
- Creating and distributing information center newsletters
- Setting up RSS feeds from various tools
- Managing the information services portal, coordinating the use of APIs into internal applications
- New employee orientation to the services provided by the information center.
If users are aware of the tools provided and the information manager is confident they are being used, then analysis on the usage and ROI from the resources will be better informed when making content acquisition decisions.
4. Get access to highly specialized information management skills
Too often, companies do not invest in highly skilled information professionals, relying on individuals or groups to solve their own searching and content needs. For example, it is typical to see R&D-focused companies add content management and acquisition to an unexperienced employee’s workload when they already have a full-time job, or to leave content acquisition to the individual researchers and their company credit cards. Since it is not the employee’s nor the researcher’s primary role nor background, this results in the employee spending as little time and energy as possible on information management. The fast and easy solution will be used instead of the one that makes the most strategic sense for their organization. This can lead to siloed business practices and non-compliant workflows (such as accessing content via academic credentials or non-compliant caches of documents like SciHub), opening the organization to risk.
Having an information manager on staff trained in modern information management best practices will help as your organization develops its content and information strategy. Information management is a very specific type of skill and expertise, including working with digital assets, cataloging, research, compliance, and analytics. Staffing, outsourcing, or consultancy agencies that specialize in providing highly skilled information professionals, will give you access to a wide pool of qualified candidates with years of experience suited to your organization’s unique needs. As Human Resources within R&D intensive organizations do not typically have the experience in hiring information managers, partnering with an organization that specializes in this field improves the chances of finding the right candidate for the role.
5. Engage flexible services that help meet your business objectives
Not all R&D-intensive organizations are the same. Whether varying in size, structure, or business objectives and priorities, information management services within organizations will also vary company to company. Small organizations may only need part time consultants or a half-time librarian to help identify and grow their content portfolio and build a compliance policy. Large organizations likely already have an information management strategy but would like to expand services or fill an identified information need. Outsourcing information management services to a flexible partner is the key to a successful engagement. Whether the resource should be onsite or work remotely, full time or part time, a one-year engagement or an ongoing service, an experienced outsourcing firm will work with stakeholders in your organization to craft a role that meets your unique culture and needs.
Through Managed Knowledge Services, Copyright Clearance Center provides highly skilled information management professionals with expertise matched to your organization’s unique needs and culture to deliver high-quality service and to help organizations get the most value from their content investments. Learn more here.