Have you ever been in a meeting where each participant was working from a different data set? There were likely a few misunderstandings that hindered your team’s ability to make valuable decisions and you may have found that any decisions that were made weren’t very effective. You can thank data fragmentation and data silos for all of these issues.
Data fragmentation is what we call the ensuing and inevitable mess caused by data being duplicated, casually updated, and stored across a variety of locations resulting in teams not knowing where data resides or which copy of data is the most current. Data silos, another challenge that impacts an organization's ability to make informed decisions, happen when data is controlled by a person or department and is kept in isolation away from the rest of the organization. Data silos between teams hamper an organization’s efforts to provide a single point of data-based truth throughout an organization.
The solution is called a Single Source of Truth, which is sometimes poetically referred to as a ‘golden record.’ The aim of adopting a Single Source of Truth is to provide employees with a federated view of data to ensure that everyone in your organization is referencing the same data source when making business decisions. By choosing a system of record, organizations can avoid seeing their workflows slow down due to their team struggling with data management. It’s incredibly important because really, your decisions are only as good as the data they’re based on.
While this is typically considered in terms of financial data, or other key business metrics, it also applies to the maps of your buildings. Let’s consider this in terms of a major transportation hub like an airport. If you were the governing body of an airport, you may find that map data silos have manifested between the various stakeholders and vendors in your airport. They might be making their own versions of indoor maps of the airport for their employees or customers and these third party maps may not be current or may even be downright inaccurate. If you have to close a wing of your airport for construction, need to redirect people away from an emergency, or have sensitive areas of the map that need to be visible to one group but not another, you cannot control what data is presented by these third party maps, and have no control over what data is presented to travelers or employees. Data fragmentation strikes again.
The benefits of having a Single Source of Truth for your other data apply to your maps as well. By making your indoor maps available to these stakeholders, you can push out real-time updates to mitigate the aforementioned issues. Having an integrated ‘golden record’ map that you can manage and update once, and deploy these updates to all of your web properties, apps, and digital signage, prevents these data silos from growing and creating issues within your facility. In this case, the Single Source of Truth keeps people safe, protects sensitive information, and ensures that business decisions regarding your facility are made from accurate, up-to-date data.