There is a paradox in human thinking: the love of both disciplined organization and free-wheeling adhocracy.
We build silos to satisfy the first and tear them down again to indulge the latter.
But only one of these conditions is prosperous for business. The other creates chaos and it’s probably not the one you think.
Here, let me explain…
|“Creativity is just connecting things. When you ask a creative person how they did something, they may feel a little guilty because they didn’t really do it, they just saw something. It seemed obvious to them after awhile.” Steve Jobs in an interview with Wired.|
As Jobs and others before him so eloquently put it “connecting things” is at the heart of creativity.
Its pulse beats in every known business success be it through business acumen, innovation, or invention.
So how is it that business ever thought it smart to separate things into silos where such connections would be totally severed?
We do that sort of thing repeatedly in everything from sorting our laundry, using the Dewy Decimal System, and drawing business organizational charts to packing data in silos.
But what we find is that the piles grow bigger and more jumbled because many things can be labeled many different ways.
And so it is that we end up dumping the same data in several silos.
And then we change something in that data, perhaps add detail or delete an error.
Unfortunately, the change doesn’t make it all the way through the siloed systems.
Now the repetitive data becomes unique again in that one version is correct and another is not. We have a word for that unwinding.
It’s called chaos.
Chaos isn’t good for business. Among other things, it totally gums up the whole “connecting things” process we so desperately need for our businesses to remain profitable.
The silos must come down.
The data must be scrubbed and converged and reconfigured within context so that humans are allowed to freely form profitable associations.
It’s a messy process, this tearing down silos and letting data escape from labeled chaos to converged simplicity. And people get confused when you just go around throwing out labels like that.
Many will push hard for the business to return to all the familiar places data once lived and simply build upon them an array of additions.
|But such nostalgia must be resisted for as Albert Einstein put it: “Any intelligent fool can make things bigger and more complex… It takes a touch of genius – and a lot of courage – to move in the opposite direction.”|
In the end, data convergence makes the most business sense. Such is slowly becoming common knowledge.
We see movement already towards a systems convergence finale, an event that must take place if data is to ever be truly converged and not simply merged.
The latest such activity is gelling around case management, the very heart of all things ad hoc despite our attempts to strictly automate it.
And that center is drawing in the more structured, label-oriented systems into a silo-less fold of solid company intelligence.
We see in the marketplace a growing impetus to converge case management (CM), business process management (BPM) and enterprise content management (ECM). Other technologies are also moving towards this convergence field, such as business intelligence (BI), enterprise resource management (ERP), knowledge management (KM), and customer relationship management (CRM).
From all this convergence will eventually come the simplicity we need to truly see the data we have. Then and only then can we begin to creatively connect data points to propel business forward in ever more prosperous ways.