Second in a series

When a corporation commits to combating information silos, it’s vital that managers recognize that not all silos are created equal. As we’ve seen in Part 1 of this series, silos can be the result of legacy systems, a corporate merger or acquisition, or the simple desire for vendor diversity. In our work with some of the biggest names in business, we’ve seen more than our share of information silos; and we’ve determined that most are one of four types.

1. End-of-Life silos

When a system is near the end of its life (or worse yet has already passed the end of life), sometimes it seems easier not to deal with it at all. It’s often not clear if it will break, and there’s no one to call if it does. That’s a real concern, and here are four more:

Compliance. A system that is no longer supported cannot be updated to meet your organization’s compliance requirements.

Maintenance. End-of-Life silos are often so old that few people in the organization have adequate experience maintaining them. Hoping that something will keep running isn’t enough.

Security. It goes without saying that software without security updates makes organizations more vulnerable. There are also issues surrounding compatibility with operating system patches and external application updates.

Cost. Keeping something running that is unmaintainable and non-compliant opens the door to consequences that can be extremely costly.

2. Underperforming silos

These are the one-trick ponies. Born out of necessity, they were likely introduced by a group inside your organization that needed to perform a specific task: an index update, a small approval process, and so on. Because these are small processes, there is often little thought devoted to implementing them.

These silos usually perform a very limited function and are not easily modified, upgraded or integrated. They may not be secure or compliant. These silos don’t fit into the organization’s overall enterprise content management strategy. At times they duplicate content stored elsewhere.

3. Underutilized silos

Plenty of organizations purchase a solution with intentions of expanding the capabilities later. The solutions, oftentimes best of breed, don’t get utilized to their fullest potential because no one has devoted the time to determine that potential.

When evaluating these underutilized silos appropriately many organizations quickly realize that they should be part of their enterprise content management strategy.

4. Enterprise silos

Too many organizations still store different data in different applications and various departments have no way to use it for more effective communication and collaboration. Combating this takes knowing the features and capabilities of your various systems so that when business leadership makes requests they can get exactly what they need.

Once you have an understanding of the data being storied and used by your organization, you can start to investigate the applications that are housing that data. Are there silos? There usually are. We’ll talk about what to do about them in the next installment of this series.