Connecting People not Data

One of the chief challenges for teams that cut across several functional silos is sharing information. Often, information is created and held in one system of record, accessible to members of one silo, but needed in a different one. Typically IT departments have to build some kind of bridge for the data so what is created in one place can be used in another.
There are a lot of techniques for accomplishing data level integration. Creating a separate database to hold duplicate, shared, data, extending the database schemes of multiple systems to create cross reference tables, and using APIs or database queries from one system to another’s database to display the data are just a few ways that IT makes data available that is stored from one system to another one that needs it.
All of these techniques have two things in common. They require IT to build an extension to the system of record – basically to modify the standard system – which is expensive to build and maintain. It’s also inflexible since it relies on known information sharing needs. If a new set set of data sharing requirements pops up, IT has to build something new and, until they do so, knowledge workers can’t share like they should.
Social platforms take a different approach. When these social tool sets are available within the company’s systems of record, interactions including data sharing can occur without integrating the actual data. Anyone engaged in the cross-functional activity can ask for important information and have someone with access to it, provide the data on an as-needed basis. It’s often not necessary that the raw data be shared so much as aggregated information that one functional unit has access to.
By connecting through people rather than data, cross-functional teams can get the information they need from team members with access to it without the expense of integration. This approach allows team members to make on the fly decisions as to whether others should see certain data rather than having to adhere to ridged rules. Otherwise, similar interactions will happen in email where the information can go in an unintended direction. Social platforms, when integrated into a system of record, help maintain a record of these interchanges available from within the system of record, unlike email which lives outside the system of record.
Shipping or integrated data between systems is a rigid, command and control method, a blunt tool. Social platforms are a more flexible and responsive way of achieving the same goal – sharing critical information.