Controlling information is something we tend to associate with despotic, totalitarian governments in far-off places. When we call that information “news” or “content,” though, we want the ability to control it. Not to control what news is produced, but without the ability to control the content we consume, we quickly lose the ability to get at any of the information we want or need.
When we lose control of information, our workflow can suffer. I don’t know about you, but I get somewhere north of 100 emails a day. Some of these address issues that I can square away quickly and soon enough that I can task-switch to them, complete them, and move on. Others involve discussions about ongoing projects, and when these come along, somebody invariably will say, “We need more information before we can make a decision on that.”
“Great!” you think (or perhaps even say out loud – your email can’t hear you, after all). “MORE information. Just what I need.”
When it comes to competitive intelligence, though, you need all the information you can get ahold of, and that’s where technology can save you. It would be impossible for you to read even just the Business sections of a dozen newspapers every day and still complete everything you’re working on. What you need is a way to extract just the articles that relate to what’s important. A daily (or weekly, or monthly) newsletter that pops up in your email inbox and delivers exactly (and only) the content you need serves several purposes all at once. It gives you the news you need, delivers it on your schedule, and prevents you from having to manually dig up all that information one piece at a time. Technology here isn’t a crutch, it’s something that speeds your work processes and streamlines your workflow.
How many times have you heard (or said), “Oh, that must have just fallen through the cracks”? It’s frustrating whether you’re the one voicing it or the one hearing it. You have calendars on your laptop and phone – even Outlook has a built-in calendar – yet you still forgot about that 2 p.m. conference call with Chicago on Wednesday. If you can forget a meeting, it’s not hard to accept that managing hundreds of articles worth of data might be difficult without some kind of technological management between you and the raw data feeds.
Workflow experts can tell us dozens – if not hundreds – of ways to manage and improve our daily tasks. One thing workflow consultants almost all agree on is that a certain amount of automation is beneficial; automation can remove some of the minute blockages or delays that come from having to make extraneous decisions about little things throughout the day.
That you need content isn’t a little thing; as a CI professional, it’s a given. When you can use technology to automate the collection and classification of that information, it’s going to improve your workflow every time. When that automation offers you the ability to tweak, analyze and visualize the data flow at your leisure, its importance becomes obvious quickly.
Newsletters are one way to spread information; read my blog post about them. You can also sign up for a free newsletter trial just by clicking the big green "Submit" button below.