Yank Information Out of the Dark

In a recent article on eliminating duplicate content from Intranets, Mike Moran talked about removing barriers to information that is inside an organization.  There is a lot of duplication when you create both inside and outside versions of the same information.  He says that the firewall is becoming an old metaphor when applied to who can and who can’t access information.
When I need to work on a project, I typically engage with many people both inside and outside of my organization.  The best people to solicit for ideas on a new product or service are my customers and partners.  They in turn may want to talk to other partners or customers or people inside my organization.  Rather than creating internal and external versions of the same information, I should give everyone access to one set of data.  Why keep information secret from the people who need it?
Decide who gets access to what and apply security as appropriate.  If I am in product development, I should get access to R&D and competitive information.  If I am a contractor who is helping with a product design, I should get access to the same information.  If I am a customer who could provide great input into that new product, I should have access to that same information.  Why create more complexity and duplicate effort when I already have plenty of user authentication mechanisms in place to control information access?  Just extend those to whoever needs the information, don’t create two versions of the same data.  If I need to control access beyond a user ID, I can useinformation rights management or encryption techniques.  Opening up the information through a website login, with appropriate access controls, would make a lot more sense.
Eliminate the duplication.  Show the information the light of day.  Become more transparent to your customers, partners, investors, analysts and the world.  You will be happier for it and save a lot of money and time.  And it might make your business grow.  What are you waiting for?

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