How Many Different Ways Can Your Organization Be ‘Silo-ed’? Why You Need to Address Every ‘Silo-ing’

by Ronald G. Ross on April 10, 2012

in Business Architecture, Business Capability, Business Model, Business Processes, Business Rules, Enterprise Architecture, Vocabulary


‘Silo’ is so common as an industry buzzword we mostly just take it for granted. The usual sense is ‘functional’ silo or ‘organizational silo’.

I recently heard ‘no man stands alone’ (‘alone’ = ‘silo-ed’) as a common-sense justification for Big-P process. (See http://goo.gl/Cuk3s) That logic is simply flawed. Here are other ways your business can be fundamentally ‘silo-ed’.

  • You can stand alone (silo-ed) in your strategy – goals not aligned, tactics not aligned, policies not aligned.
  • You can stand alone (silo-ed) in your timing – events, intervals and schedules not coordinated.
  • You can stand alone (silo-ed) in your logistics – locations isolated, connections and transport linkages not optimized.
  • You can stand alone (silo-ed) in your language – different vocabularies and meanings, producing semantic silos (a.k.a. a Tower of Babel).

And of course, you can stand alone (silo-ed) in your business rules.

Any one of these ‘silo-ings’ can be worse than ‘functional’ or ‘organizational’ ones. My bias, of course, is toward language (nothing gets done effectively in a Tower of Babel) and strategy (if you’re storming the beaches, you’d better hope the generals already got it together strategy-wise).

But that’s not the point. If an approach doesn’t evenly addresses all the ‘silo-ings’, it’s trouble. As we say in our new book (http://www.brsolutions.com/b_building_business_solutions.php) you need a well-factored approach. (And of course, John Zachman has been saying that for 25+ years.) The Big-P process view steers you in a harmfully simplistic direction … and probably right into the waiting arms of some eager consultancy or services provider.


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