Silos Are a Natural Consequence of Information: Learn to Love Them

July 30, 2018

How To Eradicate Unnecessary Data Silos

A piece at the SmartDataCollective explains “How to Eliminate Silos in Company-Wide Data Analytics.” Writer Larry Alton explains:

“Silos emerge when a cluster of individuals in your company (usually within a specific department) have trouble communicating with, or collaborating with another cluster of individuals in your company (usually within another department). In some ways, this is a natural result of building a company; if you want your sales team to focus on sales and your marketing team to focus on marketing, eventually, it will be difficult for your sales and marketing staff to collaborate on a mutual problem. But if you want your company’s data to be streamlined, accessible, and impactful to your organization’s bottom line, you’ll need to eliminate these silos, or at least mitigate their development.”

The piece lists the reasons silos are to be avoided and we agree, in general, with Alton’s points. However, we observe that data isolation by department is required in some sectors—intelligence, law enforcement, and pharmaceuticals, for example. Alton offers specific advice in his list, “How to Break Silos Down,” so see the piece for that info.

The problem, however, is that data silos are a fact of life in many organizations. Examples range from the 23andMe data now shared with a major pharmaceutical company to information in the possession of an attorney allegedly bound by confidentiality obligations. The idea that federating a wide range of data is a natural condition goes against individual and corporate behavior.

Talk about data silos is one thing. Delivering a giant data lake with open access to those with permission to view the data is another. When a new project gets off the ground, how are the data handled? The answer, “In a silo.” Toss in a government requirement for secrecy or a corporate rule about secret drug research, and you have silos.

Who doesn’t want silos?

Cynthia Murrell, July 30, 2018


2 Responses to “Silos Are a Natural Consequence of Information: Learn to Love Them”

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