The amount of data in the world was predicted by the International Data Group to reach 59 zettabytes this year, and the one big problem with this explosion of data is data silos.
Data is a business driver today. Different departments are making decisions based on the data they collect. But that is the very problem: “different departments.” as when the individual, team, business unit, or department keeps its data internally it creates a separate silo.
There are many problems with data silos, including:
- Resources are wasted learning from data analyzed through a narrow lens.
- Gleaning actionable insights is challenging.
- Overlapping but inconsistent data is collected separately.
- Barriers to a holistic view of opportunities or threats are created.
Think about it from the perspective of higher education. A university campus has admissions, health and wellness, student life, academics and more with students interacting with any number of those. If these groups don’t share information though, an at-risk student could slip through the cracks. In business, data silos put productivity, innovation and growth opportunities at risk.
Technology Prevents Data Silos
Most departments within a business have their own objectives, they each collect and store data for their own purposes using different tools. One area of a business might use spreadsheets, another accounting software, and yet another has a client management platform. Each department deals with that data differently too.
Here are five strategies that can help a business use technology to break down the silos within organizations?
1) Embrace a collaborative culture
This may not sound like an IT thing, but many technologies support communication across an organization and communicating the benefits is not going to work on its own. You need to give your people the tools to exchange data and discuss it. For example, Microsoft Teams (including in O365 / M365) allows departments to collaboratively share and edit spreadsheets in real-time.
2) Clean your data
Take the time to go through your business data prior to integration will help with accuracy. Do not waste your valuable time and resources integrating and then storing out-of-date data. Take the time to ensure you are using only data that is correct and still has value.
3) Create a centralized data home
Creating a central home for data supports greater accuracy and reduced human effort. A great place for this centralised home is in the cloud. A cloud-based repository allows people to add and update data from the office, at home or on the road. The cloud is easily managed from a central location and can cut ongoing operational costs.
4) Use integration software
All your data is spread out in different locations and most likely resides in different software. Using integration software, you can sync data to a central source that is accessible by everyone. This provides a complete picture of the entire company data.
#5 Select applications that integrate
As you replace legacy systems, prioritize applications that have native integration, as this can save your IT team effort. For example, avoid creating scripts that copy data between applications instead use cloud-based packages that already have built-in integration.
Preventing data silos gives you a better overview of the entire companies data and makes the discovery of new opportunities and operational efficiencies more likely with potential cost savings. You will also avoid data redundancy and free up more storage.
Find out what technology is available to integrate your data silos. A managed service provider can review your objectives and IT inventory. If you are in Adelaide or South Australia then contact us today.