Silos and Electronic Docs: commenting on a draft document

We have a consultant in-house, working on a recommendation for improving our call center. I was asked to comment on the draft of his PowerPoint slide show. Thought I’d share a couple excerpts from my response. The first:

Here’s that silo word again. In real life, those “silos” were created to match practice and need, not to isolate the information. In fact, a significant part of it is duplicated data and no one did that on purpose. They needed the data handy, so they made a place for it. If we offer them a useful alternative they’ll use it; if we don’t provide a useful alternative, they’ll ignore us and recreate the MS Access tables.

Here’s the other:

The issue is not “electronic formats.” Everything’s available in electronic format; with high management behind us, we shouldn’t have any trouble springing the manuals from their authors. The issues are maintenance, indexing and presentation:

  • How do we keep the electronic documents current?
  • How should the electronic documents be structured for electronic retrieval?
  • What mechanism(s) is (are) appropriate for retrieving that content?

Documents in “electronic formats” could mean we have 700 PDFs, which would be useless. If we don’t raise and answer those questions, it doesn’t matter what format the documents are in.

I prefaced the response by noting that “jowo’s kinda preachy today.”