The failure of companies to respond quickly enough to changing conditions is also prompting many of them to take a more holistic view of their information architecture. We are seeing many organizations questioning some of the established limits on information flow in the organization–between front and back office, between operational and reporting and analysis systems, and between structured and unstructured information.
There is a recognition that we need to break down existing silos of information–in the past, this has been one of the goals of collaboration tools, content management repositories, data warehouses and CRM systems. Each of those initiatives has attempted to address the problems of information islands, but in the end they have often raised as many problems and barriers as they solved.
The rising interest in taxonomies and information classification suggests, however, that we are becoming more sophisticated in how we view and manage information assets across our organizations. In addition, the emergence of common–and more importantly workable–standards for information exchange and application integration (such as XML, WSDL, SOAP) holds out the possibility that we can finally start to overcome the recurrent barriers to developing a unified approach to managing information and knowledge across an organization.
Web services standards will provide the technical basis of such integration. And the increasing use of XML as a standard for information description holds out the hope of developing semantically rich infrastructures in which new forms of information publishing, information discovery and information sharing will be possible.