Tomorrow’s business will be collaborative… or it may not be.

To meet the challenges of digitalization, it will have to integrate more effectively the notions of collaborative web and agility in the professional tools of project teams. It will also have to abandon yesterday’s methods (interminable meetings, reports that nobody reads…) to adapt to today’s key words: instantaneity and responsiveness. These innervate all organizations, revolutionizing working methods, emphasizing multidisciplinarity and transversality via collaborative platforms. Yet, at the heart of this whirlwind, there is still one irreducible sector: data. How can we get it to take the agility bend?

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Down with the silos, long live transversality!

Agility is on the rise in companies. According to a study by Voirin, by 2014, 78% of French IT managers had already implemented collaborative tools. Another survey, this time conducted by Lecko, tells us that collaborative uses grew by 15% in 2015.

Surprising?
Not so much. More collaborative work in companies leads to less fixed silos and more agility. More agility, in turn, promotes transversality – the end of verticality in organizations. The ultimate goal is increased efficiency, thanks to work that is no longer done successively, but iteratively and adaptively. The exchange thus authorized erases the desire to act alone, or worse, to withhold information that could prove crucial for another department. In the end, it is a whole collective intelligence that emerges and develops, and it is the whole company that benefits from it.

IT developers have understood this. They offer more and more collaborative platforms to manage projects and optimize the organization of tasks (for example, JIRA Software or the open source platform Taiga). At the same time, traditional tools are adapting to changes in the work of business and functional teams – the Office office suite is becoming Office 360 to respond to the methodological upheavals brought about by Google Drive.

Making data management more flexible

However, there is one area that still resists this inexorable evolution: that of data management. The lack of operational governance and the absence of data mapping shared by the teams continue to maintain the technical and business silos on this theme. In essence, the techs master the modeling, storage and loading of data; then the business teams use it for analysis and reporting purposes, and define the rules for exploiting this data, without understanding its technical implementation. These silos are watertight, hampering good communication and negatively impacting data usage.

It is more than necessary to break down these silos, to allow better sharing of data knowledge and to inject more agility! But also to give more autonomy to the business actors to discover and explore the structures and transformations permeated on data – because they know how to get the best out of data – via self-service applications, digestible and easy to handle for non-technical people to include them in the data transformation process. These changes, in turn, will increase productivity by limiting exchanges on technical issues, better control the risk of errors, compensate for the potential incompatibility of exchanged data and adapt more effectively to regulations (through Data Governance).

Faced with volatile data, companies must implement agile collaborative platforms to improve its management, processing, sharing and use. To this end, data management is not an obstacle: on the contrary, it is a lever that enables collaboration between forces that are still too often locked in their historical silos and opens the door to an unsuspected source of collective intelligence that creates value.