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The Strategic Management Of Technology A Guide For Library


The Strategic Management of Technology: A Guide for Library Professionals




Technology is a key driver of change and innovation in the library and information services (LIS) sector. Technology can enable new ways of delivering services, enhancing user experience, improving efficiency, and creating value. However, technology also poses significant challenges and risks, such as obsolescence, disruption, security, and cost. Therefore, it is essential for library professionals to manage technology strategically, aligning it with the goals and vision of their organization.


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This article provides an overview of the strategic management of technology in LIS, covering the following topics:



  • What is the strategic management of technology?



  • Why is it important for library professionals?



  • What are the key steps and tools for the strategic management of technology?



  • What are some examples and best practices of the strategic management of technology in LIS?




What is the strategic management of technology?




The strategic management of technology is the process of planning, implementing, evaluating, and controlling the use of technology in an organization to achieve its objectives and create competitive advantage. It involves identifying the current and future needs and opportunities of the organization and its stakeholders, assessing the available and emerging technologies and their potential impact, selecting and prioritizing the most appropriate technologies, allocating resources and managing risks, monitoring and measuring the performance and outcomes of technology initiatives, and adapting to changing circumstances and feedback.


Why is it important for library professionals?




The strategic management of technology is important for library professionals because it can help them to:



  • Align technology with the mission, vision, values, and goals of their organization and its stakeholders.



  • Enhance the quality and accessibility of information resources and services.



  • Increase user satisfaction and engagement.



  • Optimize operational efficiency and effectiveness.



  • Innovate and differentiate their organization from competitors.



  • Anticipate and respond to changes in the external environment, such as user needs, expectations, behavior, preferences, trends, opportunities, threats, regulations, standards, etc.



  • Leverage the synergies and complementarities between different technologies and between technology and other organizational resources.



  • Manage the costs, benefits, risks, and challenges associated with technology adoption and use.



  • Demonstrate the value and impact of technology to their organization and its stakeholders.




What are the key steps and tools for the strategic management of technology?




The strategic management of technology can be seen as a cycle that consists of four main phases: analysis, formulation, implementation, and evaluation. Each phase involves a series of steps and tools that can help library professionals to make informed decisions and actions regarding technology. The following table summarizes some of the key steps and tools for each phase:


Phase Steps Tools --- --- --- Analysis - Assess the current situation of the organization and its environment.- Identify the strengths, weaknesses, opportunities, and threats (SWOT) related to technology.- Determine the gaps between the current and desired state of technology.- Define the objectives and scope of technology initiatives. - Environmental scanning- SWOT analysis- Gap analysis- SMART goals Formulation - Generate alternative strategies for achieving the objectives.- Evaluate the feasibility, suitability, acceptability, and sustainability of each strategy.- Select the best strategy or combination of strategies.- Develop an action plan for implementing the strategy. - Brainstorming- Cost-benefit analysis- Risk analysis- Stakeholder analysis- Gantt chart Implementation - Allocate resources (human, financial, physical, etc.) for executing the action plan.- Communicate the strategy and action plan to relevant stakeholders.- Execute the action plan according to the timeline.- Monitor the progress and performance of technology initiatives. - Budgeting- Project management- Change management- Performance indicators Evaluation - Collect data and feedback on the outcomes and impacts of technology initiatives.- Analyze the data and feedback to measure the achievement of objectives.- Compare the actual results with the expected results.- Identify the successes, failures, lessons learned, best practices, areas for improvement, and recommendations for future actions. - Surveys- Interviews- Focus groups- Observation- Case studies It is important to note that the strategic management of technology is not a linear or static process, but a dynamic and iterative one. Library professionals should constantly review and revise their technology strategy and action plan based on the changing needs and circumstances of their organization and its environment.


What are some examples and best practices of the strategic management of technology in LIS?




There are many examples and best practices of the strategic management of technology in LIS, both in academic and public libraries. Here are some of them:



  • The University of Arizona Libraries used a scenario planning approach to develop a strategic plan for technology that envisioned four possible futures for the library and its users in 2025. The plan identified the key drivers of change, the implications for technology, and the strategic priorities and initiatives for each scenario. The plan also included a roadmap for implementing the initiatives and a dashboard for monitoring the progress and outcomes.



  • The National Library Board (NLB) of Singapore adopted a holistic and user-centric approach to technology innovation that involved co-creating solutions with users, partners, and vendors. The NLB established an innovation framework that consisted of four stages: discover, design, develop, and deploy. The NLB also created an innovation lab that served as a platform for testing and prototyping new technologies and services.



  • The San Francisco Public Library (SFPL) implemented a digital inclusion strategy that aimed to bridge the digital divide and empower the underserved communities in the city. The SFPL partnered with various organizations to provide access to technology, digital literacy training, and online content and services. The SFPL also leveraged technology to enhance its physical spaces, collections, programs, and outreach.




These examples illustrate some of the benefits and challenges of the strategic management of technology in LIS, as well as some of the best practices and lessons learned. They also demonstrate how library professionals can use various tools and methods to plan, implement, evaluate, and control technology in a strategic manner.


Conclusion




Technology is a vital and integral part of LIS, but it also requires careful and strategic management. Library professionals need to align technology with their organizational goals and vision, as well as with the needs and expectations of their users and stakeholders. They also need to balance the opportunities and risks, costs and benefits, innovation and sustainability of technology. By following a systematic and cyclical process of analysis, formulation, implementation, and evaluation, library professionals can make effective and efficient use of technology to create value and impact for their organization and its environment.


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