Medieval castles had moats to fortify their position, to protect themselves from outside aggressors, to protect “us” on the inside from “them” on the outside. A moat was an important safety feature, but there still needed to be a way to get in and out of the castle. Hence draw bridges were built that could be lowered for access and raised for safety.
Different business units within an organization can sometimes resemble different fiefdoms within the same kingdom, or at other times resemble different kingdoms altogether.
What does an organization keep within the walls of its many castles? Data, within its data silos. Knowledge, about its business processes and best practices. Resources, either the allocated funding to different business units, or the hoarding of the best people and technology.
How much access does the rest of the organization get? Are they storming your castle or are they too busy fortifying the defenses of their own castles?
One of my favorite topics is collaboration because people working together is the most important success factor in any enterprise initiative. Yes, technology is a great enabler. And yes, methodology is a great guide. But neither technology nor methodology will get you very far without people working together. We all know this to be true — but knowing and doing are two very different things.
There are many perceived human divides within the enterprise. Some are created by the organizational chart (e.g., I work for IT, you work for the Business). Some are created by geography (e.g., I work in the Boston office, you work in the London office). But if collaboration is so important, what are you doing to help connect yourself to the rest of the organization? What are you doing to connect your castle to other castles?
Are you building bridges or digging moats?
In other words, are you trying to enable collaboration or encourage separation?
Your Data Roundtable
This blog was recently rebranded as the Data Roundtable, a community of experts inspired, in part, by the legend of King Arthur and the Knights of the Round Table. As its name implied, since it had no head, everyone who sat at the Round Table was of equal status. Not only did Arthur and his knights have seats at the table, but also rival kings and knights were welcome under the code of chivalry.
Your community of experts, those who possess the business, data and technical knowledge necessary for success with initiatives such as data quality, master data management (MDM) and data governance, reside within the many castles spread throughout your enterprise landscape.
You need to gather them all around your own Data Roundtable, encouraging them all to embrace collaboration and accept a shared responsibility for the success of your enterprise initiatives by demonstrating that everyone has a seat at the table and is of equal status.
Or instead you could just work on improving your moats. If you’re interested, I know a guy who can get you a good old deal on sharks with ye olde laser beams attached to their heads.
Six Tips to Improve Collaboration.