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Universal, federated or unified search in the land of information silos

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The most important challenge is the need for territoriality. The legal department does not want unauthorized access to information related to a legal matter out of its control. Some government contracts required that for certain types of government work, the information related to that project must be segregated. Common sense dictates that plans for a new product and its pricing remain under wraps. If someone needs access to that information, a different search system may be used to ensure confidentiality. Even in the absence of business or legal requirements, some professionals do not want to share. That may be a management problem. When a manager locks up information in a no-access silo, a software script will skip the flagged server.

To sum up, silos of information are likely to be the norm for the foreseeable future. A publication suggests: “Forget ‘information.’ CIOs should be chief integration officers.” (See gigaom.com/2014/10/29/forget-information-cios-should-be-chief-integration-officers-says-former-cio.)

The phrase has a nice ring. In the enterprise, integration will take place within silos of content. Integration across silos of content may escalate risks to the company, trigger rising costs and leave users asking the question, “Can I get an answer to my business question without searching, scanning, clicking, reading and hunting?”

The answer may be unpalatable: Not yet.

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