Data Silos: The Silent Barrier

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Data Silos: The Silent Barrier
Adaptive Pulse

How does a business store and use its data? How do they decide which data to store? How do they organize it? Who has access to this information? 

There are many tools, both online and offline, that can help with this. In an increasingly data-driven and technologically dependent world, every bit of information counts when making important decisions for a company. The way that a business utilizes its data can sometimes determine its success. And for any successful operation, it is paramount to develop a data storage system that can be used effectively by all stakeholders. However, a significantly recurring issue many companies face with storing their data is the emergence of data silos.

What are data silos? 

You might be wondering what data silos are. Data silos are stored data retained by each department of a company; these data archives stand isolated from the rest of the business. Data silos make it harder for companies to access and use the data when needed. Often the problem begins organically in larger organizations as each department may function autonomously. The lack of communication within these departments results in siloed data stored in separate systems. For example, the marketing team may store their data using the google suite, but the HR department may use Jira instead. 

Why is this harmful for the business? 

Now that you have a better understanding of what data silos are, you may be wondering why they are detrimental to the company’s success. Simply put, data silos reduce the overall teamwork and communication within a company while making it much harder for the key decision-makers to access and use the data efficiently. The company’s operations and business practices may suffer as it could take much longer to assemble the different siloed data from each department’s preferred system. 

Data silos could cause Four specific issues in a company: 

  • Duplication of Data: Data silos are not just inefficient, but they are also costly. As siloed data is managed in different systems by the various departments, the same information could appear in multiple places. It can also add unnecessary costs to the company’s IT expense since holding the siloed data would require additional servers and tools. 
  • Lack of Collaboration: Data management and data sharing are much more difficult when there is a lack of communication within an organization. This issue gets amplified when the data gets siloed in different systems across the company. The sales and operations department may be trying to solve a similar problem. However, the lack of centralization and accessibility of the data could make it much harder for both teams to work together efficiently. That could also reduce the opportunity for future collaborations within the company when needed. 
  • The Silo Mentality: Data silos can often lead each department to develop the silo mentality. Each unit in the company might feel the need to protect the information they have gathered from others within the company. They may feel reluctant to share this information, which would result in a continuation of this organizational culture of secrecy. 
  • Problems with Data Security and Regulatory Compliance: One major issue aggravated by data silos is the increased risk of data breach and privacy. This problem usually arises when individual employees store company data using mobile devices on either Microsoft Office tools or online storage systems. Any crack in the system can compromise confidential information gathered by the company. That can also make it difficult for the company to comply with privacy and protection laws, which can cause the organization to run into legal issues. 

Although it could occasionally be hard to avoid the formation of data silos, it is not difficult to adopt methods to integrate all company information into a centralized system, making it easier for all employees to access the essential information within the company. Not only will this increase efficiency, but it will also improve overall communication and teamwork within the organization.

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