Stephen Phillips Is the client always right?
Jinfo Blog

Wednesday, 21st September 2022

By Stephen Phillips

Abstract

Whilst user expressions of value are important, they should be treated with caution. Information leaders can offer significant value by enabling smart decisions about information products and services. Realising this potential hinges on your ability to frame the question and offer potential solutions that serve the best interests of your organisation.

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I previously reflected on a recent client experience of adjusting their processes to take account of their “users’ expressions of value” (see previous Blog). Clearly, user feedback is vital, but there may be times when you need to use your expertise to ensure your organisation makes smart decisions about information products.

One of these situations cropped up recently when a Jinfo client called me and said:

"My stakeholders want to know why we can’t use Google news!"

This might trigger a defensive response in many Information Leaders.  Diving into the complexities of coverage, indexing, metadata, as well as a whole host of other technical reasons is unlikely to resonate with your Stakeholders.

At Jinfo, we recommend a more critical approach, addressing the question by articulating the needs, use cases and interests of the organisation and your Stakeholders.

Always start with the end in mind (a key principle in Jinfo’s Value Chain methodology):

  • Understanding why information is used enables you to demonstrate the importance of accuracy, breadth of coverage, sources, timeliness, voracity and reliability of the content;

  • Understanding how information finds its way into the business may reveal that end users lack critical skills to get good outcomes from “public” news tools.  For example: search algorithms skew results to create or reinforce bias;

  • There are significant risks associated with public news sites, with few (if any) contractual safeguards or privacy controls.

Capturing and articulating key concerns in the context of “protecting the organisation” enables you to convey concerns in your Stakeholder’s language. If they are not convinced, maybe it is time to run a pilot? Google News might be “good enough” for some purposes, which may give you leverage with your preferred supplier.

It's never too late to start developing your strategy and priorities for managing your portfolio and engaging your stakeholders. Jinfo works with information leaders on their information strategy.

Contact us if you would like to discuss how we can help you develop your capabilities and enhance your credibility.

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