Boiling Data Silos

Yesterday there where some blog posts dealing with data silos.

Graham Rhind posted: Data silos – learn to live with them.

Rob Karel posted: Stop trying to put a monetary value on data – it’s the wrong path. Though not being the main subject there was a remark saying: “Attempting to boil the ocean and trying to solve Customer, Product, or Financial data for all processes and decisions across the whole organization is too big an effort destined to fail before it starts”.  

Mark Montgomery made a comment on Rob’s post saying: “I also have trouble with the boil the ocean metaphor, which is used too often these days to justify all kinds of protectionist policies in the enterprise. You can’t have it both ways in the enterprise– either you have data silos or you don’t, and I argue that increasingly the world cannot afford them, albeit in highly secure formats in most situations”.

I guess we have to go for the golden mean on this one also. We shouldn’t accept data silos but we must expect them. We could go for eliminating them probably not in one big bang but slice by slice as we climb up the levels in an information maturity model.

I would definitely expect to see fewer and smaller data silos at the top level of an information maturity model than on a bottom level of a data quality immaturity model.

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6 thoughts on “Boiling Data Silos

  1. William Sharp 4th April 2011 / 06:12

    I liked this post because, more than anything, it was realistic. Don’t accept silos, expect them and slice by slice over the big bang approach were my favorites!

    • Henrik Liliendahl Sørensen 4th April 2011 / 06:33

      Thanks for commenting William.

  2. Arnt-Erik 7th April 2011 / 11:41


    As William said – realistic – and that’s the word we have to start using more. I have one question though – would it not be even more realistic to expect fewer but BIGGER silos the closer you get to the top? After all a MDM is also a silo 🙂

    • Henrik Liliendahl Sørensen 9th April 2011 / 07:27

      Thanks Arnt-Erik. I think it’s a fair correction: Fewer but some BIGGER silos instead of fewer and smaller silos.

  3. Brad Palmer 10th April 2011 / 17:35

    Yes we must live with data silos. And yes it makes sense to steadily consolidate and simplify them. But new ones will appear at least as fast. As you suggest, data silos are here to stay.

    But the problem is not really the silos themselves, it is the people get stuck in them. Let’s focus on connecting people and helping them harvest the information they need out of the rich and confusing data repositories that surround them.

    • Henrik Liliendahl Sørensen 11th April 2011 / 09:11

      Brad, thanks for the comment. Oh yes, the problem is the people…

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