This is the fourth post in our series about the six major challenges to library success. The same challenges to sustainability keep surfacing during our conversations with information management professionals—no matter the organization size, sector or geography. Please read on for our thoughts on the fourth most pressing issue special librarians are facing today—lack of integration with other critical systems.
The great news is that you did it! Your IT department has endorsed your solution, and you have the tools you need in order to be the organizational knowledge hub. But your next challenge is getting a full portfolio of rich and relevant content into your system, and making it accessible not just to users, but to other applications within your organization that can leverage the content—and in turn, increase your visibility.
What we hear
“Everything is stuck in my library system because we can’t integrate with other applications; I'm getting pressure from IT to export our data.“
Because your ILS/KM system doesn’t integrate with other enterprise systems, it’s viewed as just another silo, and the IT department continues to develop other content repositories outside your sphere to house things such as enterprise HR, Finance, or customer data.
Overcoming the Challenge
Many of our clients use SharePoint as the central source for information, and that’s scary for most libraries—who usually deliver content through a dedicated portal or Web OPAC—because their presence is often reduced to a link on a page.
Integration with organizational enterprise applications is a critical part of your library’s sustainability; tools that enable you to leverage those integrations are vital—and vastly increase the value and visibility of your department. Back to our SharePoint example: SydneyEnterprise clients address this challenge using built-in, easy to use KM tools that enable them to surface relevant library content on any view throughout SharePoint… whether it’s using our built-in RSS tool for pushing content to users, our SharePoint Web Part for direct search access, or even connectivity to SharePoint’s enterprise search. The result? Your library’s content remains visible and up front—and the IT department looks good when they deliver a content-rich SharePoint portal.
Our clients also take advantage of integrations with HR systems such as PeopleSoft, to automate borrower lists, or to create directories of experts. They also push data to their financial systems, such as Elite, lessening the burden of creating financial reports.
The bottom line
In your effort to unleash the full power of your organization’s knowledge assets, it's vital that your library system isn’t yet another silo. Your application should provide data sharing tools such as a robust API, import/export capabilities, and even social sharing aids such as persistent URLs that link users directly to content, even at the file attachment level.
Use your tools to integrate your content system throughout the organization and actually break down silos. IT will love you, and so will your users.
We’ll address the remaining two top challenges to library sustainability in future blog posts, so please stay tuned. If you’d like to watch our recent webinar, “How to Overcome 6 Important Library Challenges,” we have posted it below—please check it out.
If you’ve faced and/or addressed this challenge, we’d love to to hear about your experiences. Please share via the comments box below.