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Fall between the silos

Posted by Smokey Stover on August 07, 2007

In Reply to: Fall between the silos posted by ESC on August 07, 2007

: : The important responsibility falls between the silos.
: : What does the phrase "falls between the silos mean"?

: How was the phrase used? It sounds like a variation of "falls between the cracks" or "falls between the stools." From the archives:

: fall between the cracks
: Also, fall through the cracks or between two stools. Be neglected or overlooked; also, not fit either of two alternatives. For example, "Please make sure that either our department or yours deals with this account, lest it fall between the cracks," or "Trying to be both teacher and parent, she fell between two stools." The variant using stools, with its image of a person falling to the ground between two chairs instead of sitting down on one or the other, was already a proverb in ancient times; in English it was first recorded about 1390.
: From _The American Heritage® Dictionary of Idioms_ by Christine Ammer
"Silos" is used figuratively to describe some systems in business. The verb, "to silo," is used to mean using such a system, or placing information in such a system.

You may be helped by the Wikipedia article explaining "Information silos," of which the following is a part.
An information silo is a management system incapable of reciprocal operation with other, related management systems. A bank's management system, for example, is considered a silo if it cannot exchange information with other related systems within its own organization, or with the management systems of its customers, vendors or business partners. "Information silo" is a pejorative expression that is useful for describing the absence of operational reciprocity. Derived variants are "Silo thinking", "Silo vision" and "Silo mentality".

The expression is typically applied to management systems where the focus is inward and information communication is vertical.

When the components of such a "silo" are rendered graphically, you get a box rising from the baseline, with other boxes dealing with other, possibly related, subjects also rising from the baseline, but not touching each other. If you turn the boxes into cylinders, you get "silos."

Falling between silos does, even in this context, mean something like "falling through the cracks," because something is lost when this happens. SS