Wednesday, August 19, 2009

Silos 2.0; the new barrier to awareness.


So we worked very hard to break-down the corporate silos created by divisions, cost centers, departments and business units in order to achieve a transparency that would improve awareness, thus productivity. This was the mission of the late 80s and 90s. Some will say this movement has been widely adopted across most companies that are mindful of the opening communication to their workforce and partners. Many have attributed the breakdown of the horizontal ivory towers to information technologies capable of improving communication and collaboration. Throughout my career in collaborative computing and knowledge management I have observed that the breakdown of those barriers did not primarily come from the deliberate intent to improve openness by management, but rather from renegade groups of individual seeking the right resources and information through any means possible; the networked PC, email, chats, groupware... Sounds familiar? Yes the Web 2.0 technologies are no different and the implementation of portals and collaborative software in enterprises have also created new silos of increasingly unshared knowledge. As if the natural order for an organization was doomed to isolate its knowledge in fear of loosing control. This tendency appears to be counteracted by the desire of the team to work together outside this constraint. The enterprise 2.0 witnesses the constant movement of the pendulum being drawn by managing-by-process versus the organic workforce. The reality is that we are increasingly evolving in iterative phases where the awareness of information is becoming more and more visible to the workforce. Without this awareness companies will find it increasingly difficult to innovate and respond in a timely manner to customers, events, competitors and rapid market movements. The Silos 2.0 is not about the technology but the unfortunate tendency to close the information to other teams. It is not because a company uses Web 2.0 technology that it is an Enterprise 2.0. Transposition is not a form of transformation!

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