find the right current awareness platform

A guide to choosing the right current awareness platform

April 22, 2021
Clare Brown

There are a number of news monitoring and content aggregation platforms on the market. They all promise to make your current awareness provision more efficient. As vendors, we want you to make the right decision for you and your organisation. Therefore Vable has put together a guide which aims to take you through the thought process. 

The way information professionals deliver current awareness has undergone a quiet revolution in the past 20 years. Scanning newspapers and compiling clippings is now a thing of the past, but if you're still manually monitoring 100s of different websites on a daily basis, you should ask yourself why. Is there a way you could work smarter?

 

Why your firm needs automated current awareness

Current awareness has different meanings for different audiences. For legal information professionals, it refers to the process of scanning multiple resources to meet end-users' specified keywords and search parameters. Resulting alerts can be "pushed" out via email or RSS feeds, or the user can be put in control in order to "pull" the information they want via a dashboard or intranet. 

Become more efficient

Current awareness isn’t just reading the news every morning - it requires specific and targeted information that is relevant to your business and clients. However this is time consuming, so you need to automate as much as possible.

Know your industry

Legal professionals need to be aware of developments in specific practice areas. This includes industry news, regulatory and legislative developments. They also need to know when competitors are in the news. 

Gain a competitive edge

Law is a competitive industry and the right current awareness gives you the edge. Lawyers and other professionals must be proactive and reach out to clients ahead of time, predicting future trends and warning of potential issues.  

See an improved ROI

Since the legal industry is information driven, it is crucial for firms to choose the most convenient and cost-effective current awareness strategy. Get more out of your expensive subscriptions and see an increased ROI on your budget.

Do your independent research

Once you accept that your organisation has a need for an automated current awareness system, how do you find out what is on the market? You need to do some research - to make the process easier, here are some sources which are not vendor-affiliated.

  • LAC Group explored and compared five current awareness vendors and published a report called "Nothing but the Relevant Content". Their intention was to support the evaluation process, as well as make people aware of automated current awareness and media monitoring.  

  • Jinfo is an invaluable resource for information professionals. They review many information management systems, including current awareness platforms. Each review is undertaken by an information professional and they usually have full access to the platform they are reviewing. They take time to find out the pros and cons of each system.

Speaking with current clients of providers, reviewing case studies and conducting your own independent research will help you to get a clear understanding of how those who use the solutions really view them. You will also be able to assess how the providers continue to develop their platforms - whether new features are added, how often updates are pushed out, whether you can influence functionality and so on.

Who should be involved in choosing a current awareness platform?

It should go without saying that you will want to involve the rest of your library and information services team in the research and pre-selection process. The team will be able to discuss and distill their requirements which will inform the project. 

  • The Marketing and Business Development departments will want to be involved.  Given their interest in competitive intelligence, company information and client development, they will have similar news monitoring needs.
  • The IT department will need to be informed to ensure that the provider fits within your firm’s ecosystem. Depending on the structure of the firm, IT might also include Innovation or Legal Tech teams. 
  • Increasingly, firms have procurement teams which can help them contain costs, identify and manage risks, and raise the quality of supplier services. They will certainly need to be consulted and may have some helpful suggestions.

It’s important to be able to communicate openly to find a solution that is the best fit for everyone - including clients. 

We invited library, marketing, business development and IT to all have a hand in helping us understand the functionality we were looking at for a curation platform. And I have to say, hands down, the Librarians were the people with the greatest insights, the greatest participation, the greatest understanding of getting a platform going that really worked. Jean O’Grady, DLA Piper 

Looking at external reviews is such a vital step in making an informed decision on your provider, as it enables you to look beyond that company’s marketing materials. Finally, nothing beats speaking with other information professionals who are already using an automated current awareness service.

Where do you go from here?

Speaking with current clients of providers, reviewing case studies and conducting your own independent research will help you to get a clear understanding of how those who use the solutions really view them.You will also be able to assess how the providers continue to develop their platforms - whether new features are added, how often updates are pushed out, whether you can influence functionality and so on.

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