After Decades of Marketing Chaff, Data Silos Thrive

March 2, 2020

Here’s another round of data silo baloney—“Top 4 Ways to Eliminate Data Fragmentation Within Your Organization” from IT Brief. Surveys have found that many businesses are not making the most of all that data they’ve been collecting, and it has become common to blame data silos. It is true that some organizations could store and access their data more efficiently. There’s just one problem, and it is one we have mentioned before—there are some very good reasons to keep some data fragmented. Silos exist because of things like government requirements, legal processes, sensitive medical data, experts protecting their turf, and basic common sense.

The article asserts:

“Many organizations are finding it difficult to extract meaningful value from their data due to one endemic problem: mass data fragmentation. With mass data fragmentation, data volumes continue to rise exponentially, but companies struggle to manage that data because it’s scattered across locations and infrastructure silos, both in on-premises data centers and in the cloud. Organizations often don’t know what data exists, where it is and whether it’s being stored securely and in compliance with regulations.”

Of course, entities must ensure data is stored securely and that they comply with regulations. Also, the write-up’s advice to keep redundancies to a minimum and to understand how one’s data is being stored and accessed in the cloud are good ones. However, the exhortation to eliminate silos entirely is off the mark; trying to do so can be a fruitless exercise in expense and frustration.


  1. A person wants to hoard his or her information
  2. Rules or regulations prevent sharing to those “not in the fox hole”
  3. Lawyers and HR professionals don’t want legal documents available and “people” managers definitely do not want employee health and salary data flying around like particles motivated by Brownian motion.

Net net: Reality has silos. Accept it. Omit the marketing silliness.

Stephen E Arnold, March 2, 2020



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