Monday, September 9, 2013

Shared not siloed


In my experience most businesses have more than enough technology. The biggest failure is that they are not using the technology to be more productive. What I see as the biggest inhibiter to improved productivity is ‘old world’ thinking around siloing information rather than sharing it.
Take a look at all the correspondence you made today, emails, phone calls, faxes, the lot. Now most of these are siloed conversations between two people. However, if you closely examine these conversations I would suggest to you that at least one other party, not in the conversation, would have benefited from the information in that siloed conversation.
As an example, let me take just one email I sent today. In that email I shared some links about working with external users in Office 365. Such information would have certainly helped many others looking to answer the same question. However, that information is now only accessible by myself (in my sent items) and by the recipient (in their inbox). That means if someone else asks me the same question I have to forward the email. Luckily, I write this blog and share such information with everyone.
Now wouldn’t it make much more sense if I had posted that information publically and then told people to look there? Doing so also allows people to discover it via search. Best part about it? I don’t have to recreate the information because it is now available for all to see and use. Even better, they can add to and build on what I initially created to make it even better. Inside email the information simply dies a digital death.
Yes, email is a handy business tool but it has its limits. The overuse of email has effectively trapped much of the information within a business, much of which could and should be public. Don’t believe me? Take a look inside your own business, inside your own inbox. How of what you see there should be available publically and could help others? Lots, I’ll bet.
I can’t tell you the number of businesses I see where you hear people asking the same questions al the time. “Where is this?”, “How do we do that?”, “Why is it done this way?”. If you hear such questions more than once inside a business you know that not enough information is being made available publically.
There are so many tools available to businesses today to make information public. Social media, blogs, Twitter, Wikis, FAQs, etc, etc. Yet very few I see actually make it a point of their business to SHARE. Most business people seem intoxicated with accumulating as many unread emails as possible, viewing that as some badge of honour.
Welcome to the new world of ‘sharing’ people. Successful businesses share information within and outside their business. With their customers, employees, the public and even their competitors and you know what? Doing so gives them a competitive advantage. Why? Because they are more productive and more trusted. Ask yourself, why do you do business with certain companies? Typically because you trust them in some way shape or form.
Take an honest look at your business and ask yourself if it is being a productive as it could be? I’ll bet the answer is not it isn’t. Now ask yourself whether your business is sharing or siloing its information. Again, I’ll put my money on siloing.
Want your business to be more successful? In a word, SHARE!