The Politics of Data Silos


I was a bit confounded recently when Tony Fisher, president of DataFlux, told me that MDM could just become yet another data silo. His point was that you shouldn't just buy an MDM solution and expect it to solve all your problems; you've got to look at the processes, too.


Okay, that makes sense. Still, it's frustrating to think companies could be spending millions on something that will just add another, bigger silo to all the little silos. It's hard to fathom how an organization would allow that to happen.


And then I saw this post by Judy Ko, Informatica's VP of Product Management and Marketing.


Apparently, Ko has been on a bit of a rampage about the proliferation of IT data silos, and she's arrived at a slightly different cause. Ko wrote that silos aren't caused by a lack of architecture planning or technology. Instead, she concluded, the fault is organizational politics.


Well, that makes perfect sense to me. I tend to agree with Thomas Mann: "Everything is politics."


That may sound like bad news, because politics isn't typically IT's strong point, but Ko offered three practical steps you can take to counter the political problems creating silos: 1. Empower your enterprise data architect. Give 'em some teeth. Architects can't enforce their plans if they have no power, so look at ways you can strengthen the role. 2. Enact a data governance program. Ko noted that a governance program will also reinforce the architect's role. 3. Start an integration competency center (ICC), which will centralize integration decisions and ensure integration problems receive the attention they deserve because now, integration will be someone's full-time job.


She includes helpful links for more details about how to accomplish these three solutions.