Your information is held hostage, and it’s making you unproductive.

By Linus Jonsheden, Community Manager, Zynapp.

Admit it. Accessing files and documents across apps, platforms and devices can be quite frustrating as our digital piles are growing bigger by the minute. On the one hand, solutions like AirDrop, Smart View, ShareIt and other collaborative file sharing tools are becoming industry standard. On the other hand, these smart solutions are more often than not incompatible with each other.

But hey, just a quick reminder. You, as a user, are the one suffering the consequences of this digital rivalry. While a few media conglomerates and tech companies (none mentioned, none forgotten) are occupied with taking market shares from each other, your data actually gets locked up in what can be conceptualized as silos — making it difficult to access and share information across boundaries.

Most of us (me included) have our data scattered on various cloud services, social networks, music streaming platforms and, globally speaking: in a million apps. For starters, it’s really not that easy to share and export e.g. songs, photos and documents, packaged together, from your phone in the first place. It’s even harder when that data is located on different services, or on various devices that are deliberately made to be incompatible with each other.

These boundaries, or incompatibilities if you will, actually have a lot in common with a scientific theory in the field of management and communication: the silo mentality. In short, this theory is used to analyse how employees in organisations are unwilling to share information outside their own down pipes — hence the name.

According to the Business Dictionary, the silo mentality can be explained as the following:

“A mind-set present in some companies when certain departments or sectors do not wish to share information with others in the same company. This type of mentality will reduce the efficiency of the overall operation.”

I find this quite similar to what the big tech players are doing with my personal information — keeping it hostage by locking it up in their silos and making the process of finding, viewing and sharing my data harder, and therefore making my digital environment a lot more unproductive.

Some manufacturers have identified this as a growing pain for their users. Take Apple for example. It’s really smooth to use AirDrop and iCloud to move files from A to B — at least if the hardware and software derives from that same company. Meaning: As long as you play by their rules, there is no friction.

When it doesn’t work?

Well, it’s both unproductive and frustrating at the same time. I mean, have you tried using iCloud on a Samsung, or an iPhone with a Windows desktop? Then you probably get where I am heading. Once I add my three-to-five cloud services (that definitely don’t enjoy talking to each other) to this calculation, I genuinely feel like i’m no longer in the driver’s seat over my own information flow.

As we are becoming a lot (+++) more mobile in our digital behaviour, I suggest that we should look for a more sustainable approach to this emerging dilemma. A solution where the user’s freedom of choice is central.

The same way company X profits in productivity when their departments or sectors are collaborating, the same way your digital environment profits when your personal data is able to flow without barriers between the apps and platforms in your every day life.

It’s your data, you should be able to dictate some rules.

At Zynapp, we are trying to figure out how to make our digital future more sustainable. Visit our website or try the free version of our application here.