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The Winchester Mystery House, located in San Jose, CA, is an odd collection of disjoined rooms, halls, and staircases. It was built over many years without architectural guidance, resulting in stairs that go nowhere, secret passageways and confusing hallways. There is an odd story that the non-stop construction was intended to confuse ghostly spirits but all that remains today is the confusing mixture of seemingly disconnected rooms, each with their own function.
If you have been in technology for any period of time, especially in application or data management, this story may be painfully familiar. Even with the best intentions in mind, it is challenging to keep pace with growing business demands and not end up with a confusing mix of disconnected applications — your own digital Winchester House.
Different business groups have their own requirements that end up being fulfilled through unique applications each generating their own sets of data, many times by embedded IT groups largely unaware of what other business groups are doing at the same time. This is actually a fairly common scenario across all geographies and industries.
So if someone wanted to fix this scenario, what are the options?
Let’s begin by taking a look at the desired outcome, which may be something like this. Each application stack usually serves a limited set of needs and generates data that could be useful to other applications, either in the same group or another business group altogether. One solution would be to rip out and replace everything and hope the new design is flexible enough to meet current and future business requirements. Efforts like this can take years, rack up excessive costs, and even when finished the business climate may have changed, requiring even more changes.
The ideal scenario is where applications can seamlessly share data with other applications without going through a painful architecture redesign or having to find the secret passage way. What if you had a platform that could connect these separate systems and create “smart objects” or data elements that can be shared and reused in simple business process applications? You could liberate data held hostage in these separate systems today, build integrated workflow applications now, and solve the application architecture issues later, if at all.
Consider a SmartObject entity ‘employee’ which can be created from information sourced from many fields across many systems of record including Salesforce, SAP, Microsoft Active Directory, payroll software, etc. Once defined, this SmartObject ‘employee’ can now be used and re-used in one or more applications that require information about an individual employee. Some examples where this information could be reused include applications for employee onboarding, expense approval processes and leave requests.
If the Winchester Mystery House were ever to function as a real house instead of a property that tourists cannot explore without a guide for fear they would get lost for hours, it would have to be torn down and rebuilt.
Does this mean an organization that wants to take advantage of data stuck in separate systems would have to rip out their existing systems and replace them entirely? Not anymore. K2 has solved this problem. If you want to see how K2 helps companies with outdated, illogical processes take advantage of data stuck in separate systems, business groups or departments, visit the links below.
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