As people use more web and mobile applications in their personal lives, they’re expecting more out of technology in their professional lives. The role of the Information Professional has become even more important in these new buying cycles. The Information Professional is to minimize the costs, both in time and money, to the rest of his or her organization as these new technologies are being reviewed. It’s the Information Professional’s role to clarify all of the various dialects.
The Information Professional was a Translator
I used to think that one of the roles of an Information Professional was to be a software translator. I like to think of vendor terminology differences in terms of individual dialects. (Dialect: particular form of a language that is peculiar to a specific group.) It was the Information Professional’s job to translate what the software buyer says to the seller and what the seller says to the buyer, and do it in all vendor dialects. But this puts too much power in the seller’s hands. When you are making decisions based on vendor terminology, you’re relying on those terms to mean what you’ve interpreted them to mean.
In the translator role the Information Professional often becomes the project leader too. That’s fine when the Information Professional has a strong knowledge of the business process. Some organizations actually have their project managers and technologist focused on individual departments. If that’s not the case then the business owner needs to be in on all major milestones of a project.
The Information Professional is a Diplomat
Today, the role of the Information Professional is that of a diplomat. The diplomat knows both the language and its subtle nuances. The vendor’s Information Professional should be able to talk about his technology in generally accepted industry terms. Programs like AIIM CIP (Certified Information Professional) are great for insuring this. The Information Professional should also be able to describe how her platform can be used to solve business requirements in business terms.
The Customer’s Information Professional should be able to take his business requirements and correlate those to generally accepted industry terms for the technology. Just as each vendor has slight distinctions in their software features, organizations have slight distinctions in way they handle standard processes. The Information Professional should be able to articulate those requirements.
Clarity out of Confusion
Understanding what requirements and features through the entire buying cycle from RFP to Selection can be as complex as any conversation at the United Nations. Addressing each of the various terminology dialects can be a challenged. The customer has a dialect, as do each of the individual vendors and even 3rd party consultants. The Information Professional needs to be comfortable if not fluent in these dialects. Remember, software is a buyer’s market and the Information Professional needs to make the buyer’s decision easier.