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The danger of departmental silos (and one way to fix it)

EducationSummary: More than ever, data plays a critical role in the success of your business. Your ability to turn your data into meaningful management information and make it easily accessible across your organization can easily be a competitive advantage. The problem is, data still lives in silos across many businesses. Learn more about this problem, and one way to address it.

One of the biggest wastes of time and money in many companies results from an all too common practice: A lack of communication and integration across departments. In many companies, different departments act like different entities. They create their own departmental information silos–using applications and systems that are incompatible with other departments.

photo credit: anthony arrigo via photopin cc
photo credit: anthony arrigo via photopin cc

For instance, the marketing department might run over a different system than the HR department. The sales department might use a piece of software that the accounting department would love…but they can’t use it with their system. Or, perhaps the shipping department and the receiving department use similar, yet incompatible software packages. Here are a couple of ways this hurts a business:

1. It wastes money

This issue leads to unnecessary software purchases. For instance, suppose the sales department and the HR department both need reporting software. If both of them run over different systems, they may have to buy two separate reporting solutions. Or, if neither department communicates with each other, they could end up buying the same software twice.

2. It wastes time

When different departments run over different systems, data integration becomes a nightmare. Pulling data out of different systems and turning that data into meaningful management information is a time-consuming process.

If your company is stuck in this situation, here’s a story you’ll want to read. It highlights a company doing things the right way. Although different departments run different systems, they found a multi-department reporting solution that works with everything they use. The HR department can create reports over their system, while the sales department can create reports over a different system…using the same software. To learn what they did, you can read the whole story here.