silosSilos in business persist in large part for one reason: the people in each function —marketing, finance, IT and so on — believe the people in the other functions don’t understand what they do. I suppose it somehow seems easier to avoid one another than to balance priorities across the organization.

Unfortunately, though, that kind of avoidance doesn’t render any of the functions more effective. Rather, it does just the opposite. Silos lead to misunderstanding, complications and frustration, which make it more difficult for everyone to do their jobs.

Traditionally, the challenges associated with silos have been particularly acute for marketers. That’s because some marketers have developed a reputation for being “cowboys,” likely due to a (often necessary) tendency to make business decisions without consulting anyone else. For example, some marketers used to believe that if IT is concerned about potential risks with that new platform you’re using… well, they’re just being overcautious. If finance wants to know what kind of ROI you anticipate from a pricey campaign… well, they’re just being stingy. Etc. Etc.

But the rapid evolution of marketing operations, the changing ways that customers and businesses connect, and the resulting increase in functional overlap is making it impossible for any Lone Ranger Marketing Team to be successful. And that’s good.

These days, if you want to keep the business moving forward, the silos need to come down, and you need to push past any fear of collaboration. Paralysis and procrastination can be dangerous, especially if your market is competitive — and there’s no better place to start than with your fellow marketers. Granted, no one’s saying that it’s going to be easy. Our Teradata 2015 Global Data-Driven Marketing Survey found that 80 percent of the marketers we polled feel silos within marketing itself prevent an omni-channel view of campaigns.

But tearing down the silos is critical to enable the interdepartmental collaboration and alignment required to gain the full value from data driven marketing. Plus, it’s essential to present a united front in the C-suite, where you’ll need to build relationships with:

The CFO, who worries about issues like compliance and customer data preferences, and who wants to be able to check in on results in real-time. An uninformed CFO can become a roadblock when marketers need to spend money, but an informed CFO can help them make the case for marketing planning and spend management.

The CIO, who worries about big issues like data security and a creating a seamless customer experience across different technological platforms. A CIO left in the dark can keep platforms and data out of marketing hands, but a CIO who works directly with the CMO understands marketing goals and can provide the insights and access the marketing group needs to set their strategy.

And of course, the CEO, who is tasked with keeping everyone on track. If members of the C-suite refuses to collaborate on broader brand goals, the CEO is largely helpless to achieve them. That’s why the CEO wants: everyone to stay focused on the customer experience; data to be collected, stored, processed and analyzed in a compliant and timely manner; functions to work together to keep costs down and drive revenue; and to stay informed, every step of the way.

Are CEOs getting what they want? Well, the answer to that question depends on who’s asked. Teradata conducted a study in partnership with The Economist Intelligence Unit and found that many companies are plagued by disconnects. 47% of CEOs we surveyed believe all employees have access to the data they need, but only 27% of managerial respondents agreed. Similarly, CEOs were more likely than employees to think relevant data is captured and made available in real time (43% vs. 29%) and that employees extract relevant insights from data (38% vs. 24%).

Our research also showed that once those misperceptions are resolved and business leaders evolve the data culture to become more customer-centric, the entire company benefits. Among top performers — those from companies that “significantly” or “somewhat” outperform in profitability — 63% said data initiatives are launched and driven by corporate leadership, and 41% have a centralized data/analytics group that introduces and implements data initiatives. These data-driven companies are more likely to generate higher profits, plus they’re twice as likely to report a culture of creativity and innovation, and they’re much more likely to reap benefits like greater collaboration and better quality and speed of execution.

For too many years, collaboration in the enterprise has been perceived as a relinquishing of control, rather than building on shared strengths. Teams have competed to elevate their own priorities, instead of working together to make everyone’s plans a reality.

Today, technology has changed the landscape to the point that growth simply won’t happen unless each function is on the same page. And the notion of “zero growth” is —and should be — intimidating. If you have to, use it as motivation to take your first bold steps toward collaboration. Start by opening up a dialogue, one that can help you better understand how marketing can work together with other functions to drive revenue.