Global Economics

The "Joined-Up" Office Has Arrived


Thanks to broadband, mobile devices and collaboration tools, it's easier than ever to share information between departments

Broadband connectivity, mobile devices and collaboration tools are making it easier for organisations to share data and information across different departments and systems, according to UK IT chiefs.

The so-called 'joined-up' enterprise probably ranks alongside the paperless office and the cashless society in terms of future predictions that have never fully materialised, but silicon.com's 12-strong CIO Jury IT user panel this week said it is getting easier to share data in real-time across an organisation.

Jane Kimberlin, IT director at Domino's Pizza, said: "New tools and the speed of connectivity are helping join up the enterprise."

The key facilitators for this are broadband, mobile devices, VPN, SharePoint-type applications and even the big ERP vendors, according to Andy Pepper, director of business IS at Tetley.

He said: "On the negative side there are security issues but we just need to handle those properly."

But while technology is making it easier to share information and knowledge across the enterprise, identifying and delivering access to worthwhile data in legacy systems remains a challenge to most organisations.

Alastair Behenna, CIO of Harvey Nash, said: "The art continues to lie in locating viable data and delivering it to the right people in formats which they can use in a 'joined-up' manner to enterprise benefit."

Luke Mellors, CIO of Expotel, warned of the dangers of information overload. "Companies' insatiable appetite for data, large amounts of which are meaningless, as opposed to useful information that can be effectively managed, makes setting up and configuring a 'joined-up' enterprise near-on impossible."

A clear corporate strategy around information is also important. Nicholas Bellenberg, IT director at publisher Hachette Filipacchi UK, said: "Unless there is a corporate strategy -- and enforcement of it - it is very easy for islands of automation to spring up, creating silos of data not related to the corporate whole."

Kevin Fitzpatrick, CIO of Sodexho UK, added: "Joined-up information is certainly possible to produce, the most crucial element is ensuring that the metrics provided are relevant to the needs of our businesses."

Today's CIO Jury was...

Neil Bath, IT director, Brewin Dolphin Securities

Alastair Behenna, CIO, Harvey Nash

Nicholas Bellenberg, IT director, Hachette Filipacchi UK

Ben Booth, global CTO, Ipsos

Paul Broome, CTO, 192.com

Kevin Fitzpatrick, CIO, Sodexho UK

Myron Hrycyk, CIO, NYK Logistics UK

Jane Kimberlin, IT director, Domino's Pizza

Luke Mellors, CIO, Expotel

Rory O'Boyle, head of IT, The Football Association

Andy Pepper, director of business IS, Tetley

Mike Roberts, IT director, the London Clinic

Want to be part of silicon.com's CIO Jury and have your say on the hot issues for IT departments? If you are a CIO, CTO, IT director or equivalent at a large or small company in the private or public sector and you want to be part of silicon.com's CIO Jury pool, or you know an IT chief who should be, then drop us a line at editorial@silicon.com

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