Data silos can be an enemy to your organization. Teams must focus on breaking down data silos to maximize growth and increase profit margins. 72% of companies stated in a study that the biggest challenge with marketing and sales was effectively managing metrics and sharing those insights. Incorporating effective strategies can help organize data and keep your teams on track to reach your goals.
What are Data Silos?
Data kept within one location and isolated from other departments in your company creates data silos that can pose an issue for a variety of reasons. Data silos exist at a cultural, technological, and structural level.
Sometimes a company will not share data, priorities, or processes amongst other departments within their company. This “silo mentality” refers to wanting ownership over their data and not having to worry about how other departments will use it.
While it’s a positive thing that software solutions are becoming more accessible to more users, it could pose a problem to data silos. If everybody is using the systems they like best, you’re adding more solutions to the equation that might not be compatible to share information with each other.
Additional systems that are implemented collect a large amount of data that can misalign preexisting information. Sticking to select systems allows for easy management and won't create unnecessary data silos.
Data can be isolated within different departments in an organization with its own storage. If there are no processes to exchange that data, then it will not be accessible for outside teams. A lack of structure creates separation and misalignment and does not allow for accountability and focused work because data will only be viewed by certain people.
Eliminating Data Silos
#1 Integrate Your Systems
Businesses that use multiple systems to manage data may experience data silos because data will not be synchronized, causing problems to arise. To break down data silos, it's important to integrate systems to share data with other departments.
Data integration creates high-quality, fully comprehensive datasets to pull from. It also ensures that data is being updated automatically and helps teams to stay on track. This will ultimately lead to better experiences for your users.
#2 Centralize Data
Data is the most valuable asset to a company. Developing a way to centralize data is the best way to gather all information into one location, whether that’s in a cloud-based data warehouse or data lake. These are best for consolidating data and granting access to individuals or groups that will use it. This provides a layer of security and privacy protection since access can be granted only to specific people.
#3 Sort Your Outdated Data
Going through years of outdated data can seem like a very daunting task. However, to create a manageable system that eliminates silos and unnecessary “junk” data, this process is crucial.
#4 Protect Your Data
When it comes to data security, data silos can be dangerous. Defining a clear strategy to protect your data across applications will help you manage it. Breaking down silos and connecting all your data so it can be stored and accessed in one place makes it far easier to quickly identify patterns or red flags that might represent a security issue. If a leak or breach does occur, having your data centralized allows you to address issues more rapidly and efficiently to limit the damage to your data and reputation.
#5 Clean Your Datasets
Find the best ways to consolidate information so you can clean your datasets. This is vital to data integrity because that information is what you’re using to make important business decisions. When cleansing data, look for trends and other valuable insights that can help provide better data in the future. Drill into the areas where issues arose and see where they came from. Cleansing and consolidating your data should be an effort that continues until your teams are satisfied with the results.
#6 Maintain New Operations
After successfully implementing a new system, make sure to factor in maintaining and adapting its data to changes as time goes on. Data silos build up over the life span of a company, so taking the time and effort to keep data clean and organized between systems is key. Develop a plan and follow through with it, while still allowing some flexibility for unseen problems. Creating a process can be challenging but will be rewarding in the long run.
Breaking down data silos and enacting policies and procedures for keeping them in check will be beneficial for your whole company. For more information on how we can help eliminate your data silos, visit our website.