Silos: A telltale symptom of sick businesses
Sick businesses don't care about integration because no one making a decision about the systems used by their silo is affected by the need and has the authority to do something about it.
What this means: The head of sales won't care when putting in Salesforce -- and why would she? If orders recorded in Salesforce are output in reports other departments have to rekey, that isn't the sales department's problem.
The controller cares because his staff has to do a lot of the rekeying, but he lacks the authority to touch the Salesforce implementation and make it feed accounts receivable and the general ledger. Likewise, the head of fulfillment who would very much like to run an efficient warehouse.
It isn't that integration is technologically impossible in the SaaS world. However, it's organizationally impossible when all IT is shadow IT, with priorities set independently by the business executives who own individual pieces, carefully protected inside their own silos. This is what sick companies will do -- dysfunctional ones if you prefer consultant-speak.
A peek at the siloed future of sick companies
A prediction: Companies that go down this rabbit hole will wake up one day and insist that their now-demoted IT department integrate the mess. The job will be very much like assembling a car out of parts ordered independently, by people who never talked to each other, from different catalogs -- and in some cases, from different junkyards. And when IT's best efforts look like something Rube Goldberg would have designed after taking bad acid, guess who will get the blame?
Because these are sick companies, and another symptom of a sick company is that when something goes wrong, the top priority is figuring out whose fault it is, making sure that whoever is on the receiving end has too little political capital to get a fair hearing. Fixing actual problems comes much later. Preventing them so they don't happen in the first place? That takes a healthy company.
Which leads to this uncomfortable conclusion: The success of cloud computing depends on the assumption of executive dysfunction. How's that for a business case for one of IT's most important trends?
This story, "Cloud computing is not IT's enemy," was originally published at InfoWorld.com. Read more of Bob Lewis' Advice Line blog on InfoWorld.com. For the latest business technology news, follow InfoWorld.com on Twitter.