Many business leaders believe that the key to sustained growth is acquiring more customers. However, that’s a lot less likely to happen if your internal processes aren’t up to scratch.
Customer acquisition and retention starts and ends with your employees — specifically, in the way they communicate and collaborate. Unfortunately, things don’t always happen this way, given the increasing complexities of technology. Many organizations use several internal systems that don’t always work well together, thus putting up barriers in the way of strong teamwork.
What are information silos, and how do they occur?
Information silos refer to groups of information, typically in the form of digital data, that aren’t readily accessible to everyone who needs them. For example, if the customer support team doesn’t have easy access to sales databases, it might take them longer to address customer support requests. These silos appear when departments use different technology platforms, thus reducing transparency and efficiency throughout the organization.
To prevent this from happening to your organization, you must do the following:
1. Create a unified company vision
Although data silos are commonly seen as a technical problem, the issue often starts with the company’s culture. After all, no technical solution alone can overcome a lack of an inclusive and collaborative corporate environment. That’s why it’s important to have a unified company vision that spans every department and employee role. People should be ready to share key information with other employees outside their core teams, and they should be able to do so without adding risk.
2. Reduce your data footprint
The amount of data in the average company continues to double every two years. While there is no denying the value of certain types of data, a lot of it is useless. For example, if you use more than one database for storing customer information, all you’ll end up with is duplicated entries, as well as occasional inconsistencies between records that haven’t been updated at the same time. Getting rid of data silos requires a unified approach that bases all information on a single, canonical source and eliminates things like incorrect or duplicate records.
3. Use integrated knowledge platforms
Innovative businesses tend to be closely associated with the so-called platform economy, in which they use all-in-one solutions that cover all core business processes. For example, if the support, sales, and marketing teams all use the same systems and databases, it will be much easier to avoid data silos. Integrated cloud-based platforms simplify management and help keep your teams aligned, without the need for additional manual labor or third-party tools.
4. Focus on cloud-hosted software
The cloud provides businesses with access to the latest tech in a largely standardized form. Many cloud apps come with native integrations and connectors for existing in-house systems.
Most importantly, however, cloud computing enables access to company resources from any internet-connected device or location, which is essential in the era of remote work. With the cloud on your side, everyone can have access to the same data, instead of having to constantly convert it and transmit it through different systems.
5. Search for native integrations
A native integration is one that works straight out of the box. For example, if you’re looking for an email marketing platform, choosing one that integrates natively with your customer resource management platform will greatly improve efficiency and maximize the effectiveness of your campaigns. Many platforms also offer open application programming interfaces (APIs), which allow companies to manually integrate them with otherwise incompatible software. However, working with APIs requires specialized skills, so it’s always better to prioritize native integrations where possible.
HERO Managed Services can help you break down the information silos in your business with strategic guidance and flexible cloud-hosted services. Contact us today to centralize your data and streamline your operations.