As a business leader, you know the importance of data to your organization’s growth and success. Data helps you make better business decisions, solve problems, improve processes and performance, identify trends, and understand your customers. In particular, data analytics helps organizations implement strategic initiatives and improve relationships with customers and business partners.
But despite the benefits of data analytics, many organizations are still not taking advantage of it, primarily because they have limited access to their own data. This happens when information silos form within a company, keeping people across the organization from distilling actionable insights from and gaining a comprehensive, 360-degree view of organizational data.
What are information silos?
Also known as data silos, information silos are sets of data held by one department within a business that are not readily or fully accessible to other departments. This leads to problems such as a lack of transparency, inconsistent processes, and inaccurate data sources. It also drains a business’s finances, as information silos lead to additional costs associated with data storage and operational inefficiencies.
Information silos commonly occur as a result of issues with a company’s technology, specifically the use of different applications by different departments. For instance, a business’s finance department processes income and expense statements using accounting software, while the marketing team relies on another program to keep track of leads. These programs are often incompatible with each other, so sharing information among departments is difficult. Some teams may also lack training in using data transfer technology, which further complicates issues with data accessibility and availability.
Also, information silos tend to form as a business grows. The business may create more departments and/or put up more locations, each of which generates and processes data using a variety of platforms. As the data that different teams handle grows and diversifies, silos grow too. This creates boundaries that impede the flow of information within the company.
How do you get rid of information silos?
As information silos are caused by technological and organizational issues, addressing these will help eliminate instances of isolated datasets in your business. Here are three things you can do to get rid of information silos.
1. Integrate your business’s programs
Depending on what type it is or which department handles it, your business’s data is most likely stored across various programs. Integrating all your business’s software can help streamline access to isolated datasets. This means combining disparate programs into a unified platform to enable the efficient flow of data across your organization.
To connect and synchronize data across applications, you will need a software integration tool. It’s best to have your IT team or a managed services provider handle the implementation for you to ensure seamless software integration with little to no glitches.
2. Invest in an all-in-one data management solution
Having a single platform for data storage and management will prevent data silos as well as facilitate collaboration and communication between departments — and an all-in-one data management solution can serve as such a platform. Use it to consolidate disparate data sources into a central hub so that different departments within your organization have access to a single repository of critical information.
Aside from giving all employees access to data and increasing efficiency, a good data management solution also allows for comprehensive audit trails and provides actionable insights. These ensure data integrity and enhanced decision-making, respectively.
3. Build a culture of collaboration
In many organizations, company culture plays a central role in the formation of data silos. This is especially true for large enterprises or those with branches spread out across a country or the world, but it can easily happen in small, one-office businesses as well. Often, each department or location sees itself as a distinct operation, so none of them consider the value in sharing information with one another. This leads to inefficiencies that bring down productivity and service delivery, and ultimately affects the company’s bottom line.
By integrating sharing and collaboration into your organization’s processes, you can eliminate silos for good. This involves establishing communication standards and processes, defining roles, and building trust between and among teams. At the same time, it requires setting the appropriate access permissions for each user, so everyone in your organization can view and make use of the data they need to do their jobs.
Information silos are an increasingly common problem among organizations of all sizes. Limited access to critical data can keep companies from reaching their goals. To break down information silos once and for all, reach out to Quicktech. We can help you implement the right solution to address your data management needs, ensuring you have the data you need to drive your business strategy. Give us a call today at 604-709-8324.