As we start the fourth quarter, it‚Äôs time to start thinking about ‚Äô07‚Ä¶ and predicting it. It has been said that he who lives by the crystal ball must learn to eat broken glass. So, I‚Äôm preparing for the pain, but here goes.
I‚Äôm going to start with some predictions about how we work. Usually, not always, information management professionals lead the field in terms of adopting progressive change. I think 2007 will be a year when several forces come together to really change the way the information management (IM) profession operates.
First, I‚Äôve seen a gradual transition to a round-the-clock mentality. Those who take a 9-to-5 approach to IM roles will be disadvantaged to peers who are set up to work from home and have personal procedures for ensuring parity between home and work for their technical job abilities. Those who insist that employers pay for their broadband (or they won‚Äôt get it) will be viewed as not embracing technology in their lives and therefore, less trusted to deploy company technology. Those who expect time off when inconvenienced by work-from-home requirements will be viewed as just not getting it.
Likewise, managers who don‚Äôt embrace these changes and move away from out-of-sight, out-of-mind approaches risk being viewed the same. So, telecommuting will grow in ‚Äô07 for IM. A great non-technical skill to have is trustworthiness with this freedom.
Webconferencing has become very easy to use and, with the adoption of broadband wherever IM professionals are (work, home, hotel), its use will continue to grow to encompass most training, demonstration and even teaming for technology deliverables.
Also stemming from the broadband adoption trend is going to be more interest in the commercialization of the web. Starting with the popular websites, watching ‚Äúcommercials‚ÄĚ will be our toll on the information highway before too long.
The rapid rise of information gathering techniques such as RSS and the maturation of internet search capabilities and individual file sharing services such as iTunes are meaning we are more likely to be able to have a laser focus on that which we are interested in. This will continue to feed our growing national attention deficit disorder. Full books and print media ‚Äď slowing. Google the world‚Äôs content to get what you need ‚Äď growing.
To this, I see IMers who are able to embrace the technology and bring highly relevant content to bear on their job requirements getting ahead.
Finally, IM continues to outsource and continues its flirtation with offshoring. More job openings will be for temporary positions. Companies are getting better at IM requirement specification AND at articulating and demanding the documentation and coaching they will need to iterate and maintain outsourced work. While I still believe IM is one of the ‚Äúlast to leave‚ÄĚ to offshoring, the disillusionment with it will wax and wane for a while before settling into workable blended approaches. Be prepared.
It probably goes without saying that those who know they are in sales mode to their employer continually will experience more success. However, in ‚Äô07 IM, this is going to be more true than ever. This market is polarizing fast between tactical, interchangeable (i.e., with offshore) skill sets and relevant, strategic, hard-to-replace skills.
There you have it. I‚Äôll have more to say on the field of IM, but this was about how we work. Embracing technology, a flexible mindset and skill growth will be essential for the information management professional in 2007.