Tear down those walls. Or should you?

Breaking down internal walls: the power of a data catalog

As a citizen, one of the most visible advantages of the EU was no longer having to queue up when crossing borders by car. This was highlighted again when border controls were temporarily re-instated during the sanitary crisis last year. Younger people who hadn’t known hard borders in the past wondered aloud how we traveled in the past.

For all the good experiences stemming from increased fluidity, there have been growing pains of course. While it’s easy to remove the border booth, information didn’t necessarily cross borders as easily as did people and goods. There were obvious concerns about security and privacy. And we’ve experienced some growing pains indeed. But in the end, everybody agrees we’ve gained a lot from the increased openness. And, while less visible to the common citizen, business has gained even more by extending markets both for buying and selling goods.

One then wonders why so many businesses keep up internal walls. Ship everybody off to a management retreat and all agree that corporate top- and bottom-line are the ultimate goal. But as soon as they’re back on the job, all they care about is their little fiefdom. Luckily, it’s not quite that extreme anymore as most companies put a lot of effort into turning things around. However, there seem to be stumbling blocks which slow down progress. Here are some:

  • target setting: when personal targets are set, we must ensure they incorporate the greater good. Sometimes, actions must be taken at the expense of one’s own departments results because of the impact on corporate results. As a manager, it’s hard to take the right decision because it’ll make you appear less successful during the annual review. Unless… the corporate impact is reported clearly and the seemingly poorer departmental performance is reviewed in light of this result.

  • structure: different times may require different internal collaborations. Hard walls between divisions don’t make such efforts easier but when such efforts vary from time to time, cross-departmental collaboration becomes even tougher. Physical and information flows must be (re-)organised. Fixed structures have been set up in order to maintain an overview of the organisation but day-to-day operations require a more flexible setup. This can be alleviated by leveraging the flexibility of virtual structures.

Companies have invested huge amounts in IT-systems and those systems have often been set up to replicate or fit the hard structure of the organisation. When the structure changes, through M&A, reorganisation or temporary collaborations, CIOs must decide whether to implement (expensive) changes to the IT setup or not. When a data catalog has been set up, this decision will more often than not be to not change the IT-systems. We even notice that in many situations, business doesn’t even request any change. Easy access to and a common understanding of data and reports can be governed by those directly in charge. IT only need worry about putting up the data catalog. What’s more, if/when IT decides to change corporate IT-infrastructure, the data catalog can make this change transparent for end-users. Therefore not requiring heavy change management. 

Interested to learn how dScribe can help you tear down unnecessary walls in your organization? Get in touch.