It often feels like if everyone uses the same system, everyone will be more efficient and things will be more stable. And often this is true, for a while….and then the opposite happens. Things become brittle and fragile. One system that is centralised can help build capacity and scale, but then too often it falls apart. There becomes fewer points of failure, but when they do fail, everyone knows. There is a reliance on the ‘centre’ for support and improvements, but over time this ‘department’ is reduced because it is seen as a budget drain. But that reduces support and extends the time it takes for problems to be solved and improvements made.
Just as there is an upward spiral, so too is there a downward one.
We tend to think that one central registration system managed by one agency is a good thing. Until there is no support or we can’t access the data when we need to. Or the system gets hacked. Or we get shut out because the owner of the system changes the rules. And then it crumbles.
When there are multiple systems in use, but they have the ability to share with and ‘talk’ to each other, it can be challenging to set up. In the short term. But over time standards are created as the governance becomes more robust. And in the long term there is strength and stability in the system. People and systems can come and go, even be hacked, but the overall architecture remains strong and robust.
So are we building for the short term or the long?