ata Silos: What They Are and How to Get Rid of Them
Data is quickly becoming a currency in this day and age, and thus its importance only grows with time. Every business needs to find a smart way to manage their data and ensure that all of their employees have access to the information that they need. However, as every employee starts utilizing data, there are greater chances of the creation of data silos, which can hinder productivity and reduce efficiency.
Data silos are a big blocker for decision-making, which ends up getting in the way of a company’s business growth. Knowing exactly what they are, how they affect your team, and how to solve them makes all the difference. On that note, let’s begin with the basics first and understand everything about data silos.
What are data silos?
A data silo is a group of raw data that is accessible by one department but isolated from the rest of that organization. This results in a severe lack of transparency, efficiency, and trust within that organization and quickly causes business performance to dwindle. Data silos also drain your resources as you pay for extra data storage and the cost of inefficiency.
What data silos look like?
While data silos aren’t always obvious, they can be behind some of your company’s most stubborn problems. These can include a lack of cooperation between departments, a slow pace of work, and trouble with reporting.
Some of the most common signs of data silos include:
- Team members not knowing where to find the right information
- Having to check several places to find the right data
- Lost confidence in data accuracy
- Too much money spent on data storage and volume-based software
- Data not matching up across business tools
- Lack of transparency in how other departments are performing
What causes data silos in businesses?
Although they can be caused by using the wrong tools or processes, data silos can also be a side effect of otherwise positive things, such as improving your business tools or experiencing business growth. No matter the cause, they need to be identified and fixed. Here’s what might be causing data silos in your company:
- Company culture
If your company’s departments aren’t used to collaborating on projects, reporting to each other, and setting common goals, silos can easily arise.
- Using the wrong technology
A company’s first tools aren’t always right for the long term. Using the wrong tools or being stuck with outdated paper systems and spreadsheets can leave your team unequipped to manage a growing amount of data.
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- Using the right technology incorrectly
Having a top-of-the-range tech stack doesn’t guarantee that your team will use the tools to their full potential or that data silos won’t ever come up. Using tools incorrectly or non-collaboratively is a quick way to create silos in businesses.
- Scaling your company
As your company grows, data silos can become inevitable. The amount of data you have multiplied, you introduce new tools, and your team might also increase – which can all leave your data in a mess.
How can you prevent data silos from causing problems in your company?
Start with cultural issues
Data silos are often formed due to cultural and organizational issues, so it’s vital to start with fixing this. The benefits of data sharing need to be clearly communicated to prevent future problems. As long as the members of the organization understand these benefits, there will be an increase in productivity and efficiency. Data literacy, sore points in teamwork and the work culture, and conflicting goals need to be identified and solved to ensure that everyone in the company is working towards a unified goal in general and when it comes to data collection and management.
Take the time to sort through outdated data.
It can seem very daunting to go through what may be years and years of outdated, isolated data. However, in order to create a data management system that is actually usable, you want to ensure that all the data in it is current and accurate. So, have your company slowly work through all the data stored and weed out anything unnecessary. This can double as a team-building activity — it’s a win-win.
Using a central CRM between departments
A customer relationship management (CRM) tool is at the heart of most successful businesses. It’s where you store all contact data, track customers throughout their journey with your business and collect crucial insights to report on company performance.
When used well, your CRM is the go-to place for anyone in your company to find out information about any contact in your database.
Choose an all-in-one solution to unify your data management.
All-in-one solutions can also be referred to as platforms. These are software providers that offer different products to cover several business processes. When your sales, marketing, and customer support teams work with the same provider, it’s easier to avoid data silos.
Using platforms is a great way to keep teams aligned. When some of the software solutions you use come from the same brand, they’ll probably use the same terms to talk about the different types of data, making communication between teams smoother. It also makes it easier for them to share customer and contact data without manual labor or third-party tools.
The most important step is to find the right platform for your company on which you can streamline all your data. Tigersheet is a new generation no-code platform that serves as a middle way between spreadsheets and business-specific software.
That means no more loose Excel spreadsheets and random software shared only by individual teams. Consolidating all data onto one platform like Tigersheet will make it easier to share that data between departments. You won’t have to dig through your own private records upon request; everything will be accessible by everyone.
If you already use one of these platforms, you are on the right path. Just keep in mind that as your business grows, you might need to add more business applications to your software stack, and not all of them will come from the same software vendor. That’s when you can start looking for the best software integration solutions for your business.
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