Wednesday, July 21, 2004

SLA Takes on Competitive Intelligence: Competition SCIPping a Beat?

The Special Libraries Association (SLA) has announced the formation of a new Competitive Intelligence Division, a special interest group that will be aimed at the same audience of the unaffiliated Society of Competitive Intelligence Professionals (SCIP). The street wisdom these days seems to be that SCIP has lost some of its energy, which is ironic, since content tools for providing better competitive intelligence capaiblities have been improving dramatically over the past few years. Some of the answer may come from organizational challenges in their membership base: like their corporate library bretheren, CI staffs oftentimes are finding themselves becoming more part of the content technology infrastructure support world, helping to design portals and to integrate in content sources from both internal and external suppliers to solve competitive intelligence needs within the context of broader content solutions. In this sense the SLA moves makes a lot of sense, as info pros find themselves wearing many different kinds of hats these days, including and certainly not limited to competitive intelligence. SCIP can be expected to survive for now, but the merging disciplines of managing content in today's institutions are making it more difficult to look at these disciplines in isolation any more. While that may be bad news for many specialist associations, it's probably better for people trying to come together to solve the increasingly complex issues of today's content universe.
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