mPulse

Thursday, October 16, 2008

Web Performance: The Strength of Corporate Silos

When I meet with clients, I am always astounded by the strength of the silos that exist inside companies. Business, Marketing, IT, Server ops, Development, Network ops, Finance. In the same house, sniping and plotting to ensure that their team has the most power.

Or so it seems to the outsider.

Organizations are all fighting over the same limited pool of resources. Also, the organization of the modern corporation is devised to create this division, with an emphasis on departments and divisions over teams with shared goals. But even the Utopian world of the cross-functional team is a false dream, as the teams begin to fight amongst themselves for the same meagre resources at a project, rather than a department level.

I have no solution for this rather amusing situation. Why is it amusing? As an outsider (at my clients and in my own company) I look upon these running battles as a sign of an organization that has lost its way. Where the need to be managed and controlled has overcome the need to create and accept responsibility.

Start-ups are the villages of the corporate world. Cooperation is high, justice is swift, and creative local solutions abound. Large companies are the Rio de Janeiro's of the economy. Communication is so broken that companies have to run private phone exchanges to other offices. Interesting things have to be accomplished in the back-channel.

This has a severe effect on Web performance initiatives. Each group is constant battling to maintain control over its piece of the system, and ensure that their need for resources is fulfilled. That means one group wants to test K while another wants to measure Q and yet a third needs to capture data on E.

This leads to a substantial amount of duplication and waste when it comes to solving problems and moving the Web site forward. There is no easy answer for this. I have discussed the need for business and IT to find some level of understanding in previous posts, and have yet to find a company that is able break down the silos without reducing the control that the organization imposes.

1 comment:

  1. [...] debate is better than quiet acceptance and a grudging belief that you are going the wrong way. Corporate silos and a culture of assurance will not allow your company to make the decisions you need to have an [...]

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