If your company is losing revenue every year, whether it’s due to disruption caused by pandemics like Covid-19, changes in the economy, competition from other companies or changes in customer buying habits, chances are it’s due to a factor that business leaders don’t even consider: data silos.
Let’s put some perspective here: Did you know that according to market research firm IDC Market Research, companies lose 20-30% in revenue every year due to inefficiencies? What exactly are these inefficiencies? These inefficiencies range from making decisions based on wrong data to acting on old data. And these inefficiencies come down to data silos.
According to Gartner, making erroneous business decisions based on old or bad data could cost small to mid-sized businesses on average over $15 million per year in losses.
For business leaders time is a scarce resource: they need quick access to accurate and real-time insights to make effective business decisions. While traditional Business Intelligence (BI) technologies have helped leaders look backwards and get descriptive hindsight, newer BI technologies augmented by Artificial Intelligence (AI) are helping management and operational leaders gain predictive insight into the future of their businesses.
Here’s a 21st century business conundrum: The goal of data-driven decision making is hindered not by the lack of business information but by the lack of movement of business information from one business unit to another. Important information often gets trapped inside organizational and technological data silos. Inquiring minds would like to know why (in an era of great technological advancement) such data resides in constricted repositories, just as grain in a farm silo is closed off from outside elements.
Siloed Data is the Status Quo.
There are many reasons for the existence of a status quo. For instance, there are organizational and cultural aspects, such as silo mentality, that can lead to the harmful fragmentation and isolation of business data into data silos. Either way, your status quo is killing your revenue targets. The solution is a focus on the right approach to BI, which can eliminate data silos, democratize data, and empower people to stop guessing and start deciding.
A recent survey by Gartner has shown that 87% of business leaders believe their brands have “low business intelligence (BI) and analytics maturity”, which is a major indicator of data silos. This shows that a large majority of business leaders acknowledge that data silos exist because their organizations suffer from low BI and analytics maturity.
There are a litany of complaints against data silos, which includes wasted time, inhibited productivity, duplicated information, old data, and bad decisions. Silos may have their place at an operational level in fit-for-purpose systems, such as customer data stored in CRMs and manufacturing data stored in ERPs, but there’s no way to justify their existence from a leadership standpoint.
As adoption of SaaS continues to rise, so does the potential for data fragmentation into silos and thus it becomes harder to make decisions based on accurate and complete data. A 2019 survey shows midmarket organizations use nearly 100 different SaaS apps, while larger enterprise-level businesses use a staggering 200 or more. This is on top of legacy and on-premise systems. Since this trend shows no sign of decreasing, to avoid data silos becoming inevitable, what is required is the unification and sharing of data, which will benefit the company by increasing profits, contributing to product improvements and increasing customer retention.
Unify all Data with Advanced Analytics.
A savior to few, but embraced by many, legacy systems (like hardware in power plants, mainframes, manufacturing machines controlled by computers running MS-DOS, or archaic financial systems) offer no visibility. It would not be amiss to mention a recent Dun & Bradstreet/Forrester Consulting report, which states that 72% of firms believe that managing multiple CRM systems across geographies and technology silos is moderately to extremely challenging.
Does the solution to ending such silos lie in embracing forward-thinking technology like BI? There is nothing more human than collaboration, and working towards a unified vision. BI offers exactly this, with a focus on working toward common goals, educating departments, training people, communicating often, and implementing a comprehensive analytics solution across the business.
A data cloud platform like Trabeya’s Springboard makes it easy to ingest, store, process and present data with BI and AI, unlocking the value that often gets trapped inside data silos. There are a myriad ways in which BI can help in negating the issues caused by silos. One of the most obvious ways is that BI leads to collaboration, and it is this sharing of data that can lead to easier and more effective decision making.
Yet how is such a vast amount of data shared? A data cloud platform like Springboard consolidates data from various silos into a data lake and empowers business users through insightful dashboards and data visualizations. BI provides a real-time picture of what’s going on inside the business, even for those that still rely on legacy systems.
Today modern business leaders are leveraging the power of data to learn from the past and drive their businesses toward a better future. From predictive analytics to advanced data visualization techniques, technology is constantly evolving to better inform and speed up data-driven decision-making and strategies.
Democratize your Data and Champion it.
In short, make your data interact. One single version of truth is what is required for the right narrative to take place. The right narrative will lead to the right decisions. How can companies do this? By democratizing their data. We know that the goal of making data-driven decisions is often hampered by not having the full picture of the business across demand and supply. Important information often gets trapped inside organizational and technological data silos. The end goal of any advanced data analytics strategy is to make a company data-driven – that is, to consistently benefit from reliable data in an organization-wide manner.
Drawing on an earlier aphorism on how collaboration is intrinsically human, embrace the idea that when departments can connect information with people within the company, and with the company leadership, then the entire company benefits. For instance, consider a retailer who consolidates data across the organization on a BI platform and uses it to disseminate in real time information on internal costs, inventory, customer service interactions, product improvements and shipping. Effective dissemination of this kind means potential problems can be avoided (like poor customer experience and further investment in low-performing product ranges), customer satisfaction can be improved, and revenue potential can increase.
Un-Silo your Data. To do this Embrace BI.
Gathering actionable insights from data, and having it presented as a holistic view is necessary for a company that’s vying for a competitive advantage in the 21st century. It gives CEOs a bird’s eye view of the business to identify hidden opportunities or impending threats.
Yet, how does BI solve the conundrum of data silos? BI achieves this mammoth task of unifying data through a top-down approach. This approach offers a company overview where considerations that involve budgeting, goal setting, and forecasting are taken into account. A BI tool like Springboard uses schema on demand technology where there’s fluidity in data ingestion and storing processes, unhindered scalability, and seamless integration of data sources.
There’s an industry-wide consensus that implementing data warehouses with BI is a method that’s proven to un-silo your data and unify it all into one system. Data consolidation is a fundamental first step towards the journey of democratizing your data by using a BI tool like Springboard.
Self-service BI helps company data residing in data lakes or in any ecosystem to be analyzed by business leaders and decision makers. It’s important to look at data integrity as well. This is where data hidden in different departments tends to age and become redundant. Decisions based on such outdated information can reduce revenue potential and increase costs, and lead to millions of dollars in losses.
Companies are largely affected by technical challenges where one set of data is on one system while another set resides elsewhere. Connecting data silos through a unified BI cloud platform enables more complete visibility across various parts of an organization and enables leaders with actionable insights. Integrating analytics and BI into your organization helps in unifying organizational data into one place, creating a reliable, single source of truth. Fostering a BI-driven culture, especially one where BI is a self-service endeavour and data is available as a service, is mandatory in a globally competitive landscape, and ensuring a culture of collaboration and smoothing the task of making data-driven decisions is non-negotiable.