“The constant free flow of communication… enabling the free interchange of ideas-- forms the very bloodstream of our nation. It keeps the mind and body of our democracy eternally vital, eternally young.”
―Franklin D. Roosevelt
The same can be said of any organization, great or small.
The Information Technology revolution has made massive strides in enabling the free flow of ideas and information. Our calendar, emails, health statistics, and the largest encyclopedia in the history of man is at our fingertips at any given moment.
Yet many organizations are still struggling with Information Silos of their most critical Engineering, CRM and ERP data. Worse, they frequently end up with multiple versions of the same information with different standards for formatting that may seemingly contradict each other.
Analysts tasked with interpreting this information will have to guess at the most valid data set, assuming that the bureaucratic hoops they have to jump through to gain access to the disparate systems don’t discourage them entirely in the first place. That’s no mean feat considering the sophistication of Access Control these days—and rightly so. But in the words of Frank Herbert, “The spice (information) must flow.”
So what do you do? Integrate your systems. Standardize your formatting. While you’re at it, make sure your data is still relevant and consistent—cleanses aren’t just for health nuts anymore.
A well-constructed integration allows you to control the tempo of the data transfer and the form that the data takes in the down-stream system along with the relevant meta-data.
If your organization has Silo problems, I urge you to talk to someone. If you don’t have anyone to talk to, you can talk to us—we’ve been helping companies integrate systems for more than a decade.
[Edit: Repost from 2015]