On your OwnMany people are attracted by the idea of becoming an independent consultant, often without thinking too hard about what it is, or what it would involve. Perhaps they have been in the same job for a long time, and feel in a bit of a rut, or they may have been made redundant and are looking to fill in time and make some money until a 'real' Job comes along. On cold winter mornings, the idea of a cosy home office can be very appealing! With information and knowledge management higher on political and organisational agendas than they have ever been, there are certainly tremendous opportunities for the skilled information professional-but you do need to be very clear about what you can offer as a consultant, and what the implications (financial and otherwise) are of going it alone.
What do consultants actually do?But what do they actually do? The word 'consultant' is used a lot: think of 'beauty consultant' and 'recruitment consultant' for example. A working definition of a consultant for the purposes of this chapter might be:An independent and experienced professional who provides advice or guidance to organisations planning or undergoing a process of structured change.Just to highlight three elements: independent (i.e. not tied to potential suppliers of goods or services e.g. particular software vendors); there is an element of advice, which we will look at more closely below; and there is always an element of change, and managing or implementing that change effectively.As Webb (2001) points out, organisations choose consultants for different reasons, for example political or ethical, where the advice given needs to be seen to be impartial; economic-using a consultant can be a very cost effective way of implementing change; or technical, where a particular expertise is required to resolve a particular problem.Consultants can be used in many different types of project. For example:
|• Auditing organisational information or knowledge resources.|
|• Reviewing the effectiveness of an information service.|
|• Carrying out a customer survey to assess the need for (or impact of) a new service or product. |
Questia, a part of Gale, Cengage Learning. www.questia.com
Book title: Personal Development in the Information and Library Profession.
Contributors: Sylvia P. Webb - Author, Diana Greemwood-Jones - Author.
Place of publication: London.
Publication year: 2003.
Page number: 99.
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