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The silo challenge - with the best of intentions...

Rise of the silo

Every business knows the importance of information technology in supporting both its customers and employees through a set of IT services and applications.

To best deliver their IT services in terms of availability, stability, ease of deployment, etc. a company with its own datacentre will focus on providing great infrastructure and excellent technical platforms. This will often be achieved by establishing a number of specialized groups, each responsible for a different technical platform within the infrastructure. These groups allow the company to work to achieve the best potential of each technical platform with the funds available. The groups may also, to a degree, be semi-autonomous. Each group is generally highly specialized and high performing, but it is also focused on its own platform above all else; it is a SILO.

Facing the limitations

Each silo strives to optimize their technical platform, reducing risk, waste and cost but this may be achieved at the expense of the whole; over investing in one platform whilst, at the same time, failing to realise the potential for risk, waste and cost reduction across the total infrastructure. Silos can also cause issues with terminology becoming silo specific. The same concept may have a different name in different silos or a number of silos may use the same term to describe different things.

With a DevOps-type approach, the same group is developing and running one or more IT services with end-to-end responsibility. This does increased awareness but may still fall short of a truly holistic view of risk, waste and cost across the complete organisation.

Meeting the challenge

We need to develop and encourage disciplines that create awareness across the organisation so that each person identifies their role in terms of the complete picture. The specialists now needed by the business are ones delivering communication and awareness of history, present and future, empowering each individual to contribute to their fullest for the benefit of the whole. Capacity Management is one of the disciplines that, by its nature, meets the challenge of helping to reclaim the business potential from a silo driven organisation.

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