Monday, 26 May 2008

Connecting Infomation Dumps

I work for a traditional management consulting firm which is just beginning to embrace Web2.0 and its principles of blogging and Wikis. Today was a momentous day in the sense that I was involved setting up the corporate Wiki space where we (or rather projects) could create pages and collaborate using the functionality offered by the Wiki. Some of the managers I discussed the Wiki with, were skeptical about using the Wiki to blog about projects, upload documents and collaborate. The reason for their lack of enthusiasm was the presence of other traditional collaboration tools that have been used by previous projects to maintain project documents and track progress and there was not one but several such tools. As a result, there were several silos of information that were isolated and to a certain extent unusable as not everyone knew about their existence.

Reality check time.Information will continue to exist on File Servers, Email folders, Intranets, Wikis, Content Management Systems and local file systems . A good part of this data will be duplicated, redundant and even in some cases, out-dated. How does one connect these different sources and make data usable and easily manageable. Google Enterprise piggybacking on a Google search appliance can make finding information inside an organization easier but a search solution is not the key. The key is manageability.

While moving information out of every source into a central repository and forcing the workforce to use the central source is out of the question, it brings to the fore front, the need for pluggable interfaces that can connect information across these silos based on content and more importantly update information across several sources when information in one source changed is the need of the hour.

Such a system while in essence would be a Content Management System (CMS) that would manage content held by other CMSs, File Servers and other similar sources, it would need to identify and group together 'similar' data. In such a scenario, Tagging could act as a glue between these disparate sources of data. Moving one step forward, a bookmarking software such as Scuttle could be used to tie in various sources and formats of 'similar' data.

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