The Silo Effect
The “Silo effect” is the term coined for disconnection or lack of communication either among individual members of a team, or lack of communication or collaboration between different, but closely related teams that logically should be communicating. The current generation of data centers are often run by teams of specialists, each managing a different aspect of the data center: the network team, the database team, the servers and storage, security, and the physical building itself. The disconnections between these teams create opacity, as the data center as a whole is not well understood as a unified system. This leads to complexity, little to no communication, and duplicated efforts — all of which in turn have the potential to create risk.
What causes silos?
In 2017, with communication so accessible, this just shouldn’t be – so what is root cause of the problem, and how do we solve it? Though it’s easier to communicate than it has ever been before, from messaging apps like Skype and now the ever more popular Slack, to everyone having a cell phone with text messaging and likely the Skype or Slack app installed, a Queens University Survey found 39% of surveyed employees worldwide say people in their organization still don’t collaborate enough. Not only is nearly the whole world accessible from the workdesk, and for many just as easily their pockets, as well, yet individuals and teams alike can at times make excuses, or sometimes even create artificial barriers to communication. Other times, the problem itself is the result of the multitude of disconnected technology uni-taskers, each only solving a single problem, and thus creating “virtual” information silos. Thus, information sharing that would greatly benefit individuals, teams and the organization as a whole can fail to occur for a multitude of reasons – especially in cases when both individuals or teams are working on similar initiatives.
Addressing the Lack of Communication
One way Device42 addresses this lack of communication is by creating common ground. Once all of your employees are equipped with common communication tools, and you’re sure they know how to reach each other, and everyone is using the same ITSM system, and can see the same Google Documents, what’s left? In terms of your IT Department and your DataCenter assets, your organization can benefit greatly from that same common ground, single source of truth. That common ground is Device42, and through both its ability to capture a complete picture of your infrastructure, and via continuous discovery ensure that picture is always accurate, and its numerous out of the box integrations with other tools you already use, you’ll ensure your teams are all going to the same place to get their information.
Once Device42 is up and running, you’ve imported any documentation you may have had, and your ITSM system has access to Device42’s information, it’s time to go beyond the out of the box integrations and further unify your organization. Device42’s webhooks and their ability to drive automation ensures your DevOps team, your support team, and your Software Engineers are all speaking the same languages. Device42 can both kick off jobs & drop messages directly into Slack letting your teams know that they did so, or can create a new ticket in your ITSM system based on just about any event happening throughout your infrastructure, so when the Network guys are upgrading the switch firmware, and actually kick off the upgrade on both members of the redundant stack at once, your Support team doesn’t end up panicking and instead knows to check Device42 and sees that it is indeed the production switch stack being worked on by the network team that is attached to their ITSM ticket. They can then check in and get an update at the source, letting customers know things will be back to normal momentarily — the alternative being a support team left in the dark, and angry customers tweeting to the world about your company’s incompetence.
Unifying Information Silos
In every situation, every industry, and every office, the individual causes for poor communication can be unique; yet some shops, on the contrary, communicate well. So is there a one-size-fits-all solution? Maybe not for every situation, but here at Device42, we surely know that no matter where your efforts stand today, we can help make things better. Device42 (download it here) can improve both the way you use the tools you already have, and at the same time provides a very necessary Single Source of Truth (SST) that can be accessed and trusted by all for questions infrastructure related. Differentiation across teams and departments is a good thing; it’s why they both exist. So, too, however is a bit of healthy overlap and healthy team to team and individual to individual communication, which, playing off the strengths of each brings out the best in everybody.