The cloud can be a valuable reservoir of data for businesses to both draw from and add to. It gives the entire organization access to the wealth of data you have gathered. That is, it does if you haven’t isolated it from the rich sources of data within your organization. Many cloud environments are failing to deliver their promised ROI, not because the cloud platform can’t deliver, but because it’s been starved of the data sources that would make it perform to the fullest. If you’re going to leverage the extraordinary benefits of the cloud, the data silos have to go.

Reasons Organizations Hang on to Data Silos

Data integration

Silos make sense in some situations, but not
when you are trying to build a data-driven organization.

There are lots of reasons why data gets stuck in silos. Sometimes, it’s merely a matter of holding data in the disparate systems around the workplace (like workload automation systems, CRMs, ERPs, etc.) and failing to integrate the data by syncing those systems. Other times, it’s more complicated. Sometimes a particular department becomes greedy of “their” data and just doesn’t want to share with the class.

Occasionally, data silos are created when the organization is separated physically (such as branch offices or facilities that are spread out across a city or region). This can also happen when the organization invests in cloud services but fails to integrate that service with their other organizational data streams. Technical issues can also inhibit integration, such as when a business depends heavily on an old legacy system that isn’t compatible with modern computer languages and systems.

All Departments Need Integrated Data

No matter what the reasons are for hoarding data in silos, it cheats everyone in the organization. For example, production and quality control could benefit powerfully from the insight that comes into the marketing, sales, customer service, and tech support teams. Similarly, finance could really use a heads-up about what’s going on in production and how sales are progressing. Research and development needs the data from operations, QC, customer service, tech support, and marketing. Wouldn’t it be helpful for them to know why potential customers choose a competitor’s product?

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.

Integrating Your Data for Optimal Organization Performance

Data integration

When everyone has access to all of the data,
the entire organization reaps the benefits.

Years ago, there were legitimate reasons not to integrate the organization’s full bodies of data. The technology was simply not there to automate the integration process, meaning it had to be done manually. This was time-consuming, expensive, and often loaded with errors. Today, the entire process can be fully automated. Not only can you integrate data from the various systems within your organization, you can set the systems up to automatically sync every few minutes, meaning that everyone has access to the latest data sets. The age of data is here, and with data integration, your organization is ready for it.

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