Almost all organizations are separated into departments such as sales, marketing, technology, finance, etc. In some cases this separation proves to be necessary in order to be productive, however it can impact the overall data health of the organization.
This barrier, also known as a silo, is an issue that organizations have continually struggled with over time. A silo, according to the business dictionary, is a mind-set present in some companies when certain departments or sectors do not wish to share information with others in the same company. Silos are attributed to lack of uniform data, a non-cohesive message and a disconnected customer facing front.
It is no mishap that silos exist in almost every organization today, yet executives and senior leadership look the other way. While Big Data is discussed at almost every turn, the challenge of sharing data is becoming increasingly more difficult. The spike in new devices, growing data assets and the non-stop accumulation of data has further complicated this sharing effort. The lack of sharing between departments causes a lack of consistency and standardization across the organization. By breaking down theses walls, organizations will see overall positive outcomes.
Here are three strategies to breaking the barriers:
- Enforce a cohesive message. All members of the organization from the top down, through departments need to collaborate in order to have a unified message when communicating with consumers. Data is often kept within a particular department, resulting in a conflicted message. Having centralized and shared communication about data assets will encourage employees to work together in forming a strong and cohesive customer facing front.
- Remain transparent. At any given time a wide variety of data is being collected throughout an organization, but often valuable discoveries and initiatives are kept secret rather than shared for the benefit of the whole. Enforcing that departments share current projects nurtures an environment where the data can be “open.” Transparency in a Big Data landscape is a competitive necessity for overall success.
- Form a data quality task force. Standardized and consistent data is the foundation for a successful organization. Data quality initiatives are often created by individual departments, not an overarching, company-wide strategy. By forming a data quality task force you are incorporating individuals from all departments with one goal. In bringing together this diversified group of individuals you enforce “open data,” creating consistency and standardized data. The second part of this step is to create schedules and execution dates enforced by leadership. This will push the whole organization to work together with a common data quality vision in mind.
Breaking down silos within an organization is no easy task, but continuing to turn the blind eye to this issue will cause detrimental issues. These three strategies will help facilitate consistency and standardization. A company working as one is a necessity to gain business intelligence and competitive advantage.
For additional insight, be sure to watch the webinar 5 resolutions to achieve customer centricity to prepare for 2014.