Tuesday, November 12, 2013

Silos are great, until they're not necessary.

Today, ServiceOntario asked this question.

It’s a perfectly valid question from their standpoint.  I answered “True” to this, and here’s my reasoning.

I am one person.  I have a single instance of existence.  Commerce knows this - so I have single-sign-on identities, such as my Google ID, which gives me a range of services with different silos of the same entity.  Facebook and Twitter also know this, so they give me single sign-on ID’s that can be used with external services, such as Klout.  Every Government I know of, or have dealt with, however,   hasn’t realized this.  This means that I have a tax number, a passport number, a national insurance number, and a whole host of other numbers that represent the same thing - me.

Now, all governments could argue that this is “a historical legacy” from the old days.  The issue I have with this is most governments are in the process of overhauling systems like their health platforms and such, and you can guarantee that during these rewrites, they’re thinking in terms of “2005 thinking” (and probably more “classic” than that due to the design, funding and approval processes).  

For instance, do you think that you can pump in your Microsoft Health Vault ID into your local authority’s brand new system, so they can see your health live?  Probably not.

Do you think that the health authority is linked through your social media to find out who else you were on vacation with when you picked up and brought back that dangerous virus into the country?  Probably not.

If you change your surname, does it link to your drivers license, health card, and tax records?  Probably not.

The big question in my mind is this:  Why not?

The modern culture of government departments behaving and being funded and run like dismembered limbs on an animal that’s advertised to the public as being “whole and functional” means that commerce is now running rings around it.  This also means that once the current teenagers get into their 30s and 40s and have some clout in government, we’re likely to see this dysfunction addressed - which will streamline and make the governments coherent again.