Not long ago, there was a story at Forbes about Yoni Maisel, a man with a rare genetic disorder. The story describes how a doctor contacted Maisel after reading his blog post and seeing his pictures of his extremely rare disease called Sweet’s Syndrome. After reviewing the photos, the doctor believed she had a patient with the same condition. This is just one example of many about how sharing information about an illness helped another doctor improve a patient’s medical care.
In this case, sharing information potentially saved lives, but it can be valuable to organizations as well. There is frequently a wealth of information businesses can use. However, this can be hindered if data is isolated within different departments in an organization.
Why do silos still exist?
In the past, it was more acceptable for data to exist in silos. The technology didn’t exist to quickly integrate across systems. This meant that integrating the data had to be a manual, time-consuming process.
In a few instances, it might make perfect sense to have data silos within an organization. However, sometimes the data gets stuck in silos and never returns to the fold. In some cases, it’s really a matter of disparate systems scattered about the workplace (ERP, CRM, etc.) that are never integrated and their data synchronized. Other times it may be because data is physically separated within an organization across different parts of the world.
Bringing the departments together
When you have certain departments that are hoarding data, it can cause problems throughout the entire organization. Maybe customer service needs access to sales data. Or perhaps operations needs to communicate better with marketing. These frequently disparate systems (data silos) need to be brought together.
“Data in a silo can give you insight, but that insight is narrow, limited in scope, and potentially skewed to a particular vantage point. When data is integrated, it provides the holistic picture; one you can depend on to guide your analytics, decision making, planning, forecasting, etc.,” says Lisa Falcone at Business2Community.
With current technologies, data discovery, and visualization tools, data can easily be pulled from disparate systems across the organization and integrated with other systems. This allows organizations to break down data silos and get their point across. Doesn’t it make sense to break down your organization’s silos today?