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Workflow Automation

With Data Silos Lurking, Automation is Out of Reach

With data silos lurking, automation is out of reach

By Carole Achramowicz, Vice President, Product Marketing

Data silos breed inefficiencies, inaccuracies, and lower morale across your organization. Here’s how to identify them and dismantle them for good.

Today’s businesses are overwhelmed with systems and applications, and that’s putting it lightly. Think about it: Organizations with more than 1,000 employees use an average of 177 SaaS applications – and that number is only going to keep growing.

Emerging business apps and SaaS systems played a vital role in digitizing the way we work post-COVID, but with the rapid adoption rate required to transform operations overnight, there wasn’t much time – or the necessary expertise – to optimally integrate data between new and existing systems.

So, what happens when your teams rely on multiple disconnected systems and applications without a central source of truth for all this information?

Yup, you guessed it: Data silos.

In essence, data silos are collections of data isolated from the rest of an organization and only accessible by one department or business unit. Data silos are a widespread problem for many organizations, with recent data showing only 22% of business leaders say their teams share data well. Data silos hinder productivity and progress, especially as more organizations drive towards automation and/or hyperautomation strategies.

Learning how to identify data silos – and implementing strategies and technologies to eliminate them – will increase productivity, improve business processes, and accelerate digital transformation within your business.

4 common ways data silos form

The recent explosion of SaaS systems is not the only thing to blame for data silos – they can form in a variety of ways, including:

  1. Too much software: With the proliferation of software applications, it is easy for departments to become siloed off from each other. Each department may have its own set of software tools that do not integrate with those used by other departments.
  2. Disparate teams: When teams within an organization are not working together in the same location, they can become isolated from each other, creating barriers to communication and collaboration.
  3. Data datekeeping: Some departments or teams may be reluctant to share their data with others, leading to a siloed approach where data is only accessible to certain people or groups within the organization.
  4. Lack of awareness: Many organizations and teams do not realize how serious the problem of data silos can be until significant issues arise.

6 reasons data silos are a problem

Data silos hinder collaboration and growth, skew data accuracy to prevent accurate forecasting, and stand as a roadblock for companies looking to achieve their automation goals. Here are six ways data silos create problems in your business:

  1. Difficult or impossible data analysis: When data is stored in separate systems, it can be difficult or even impossible to analyze it as a whole. This makes it difficult for organizations to get meaningful insights from their data and make informed decisions about their operations.
  2. Slow data research: When different departments use different systems to store their data, it can take longer for researchers to access all the necessary information they need for their projects. This slows research efforts and makes it more difficult for organizations to stay competitive in today’s fast-paced world.
  3. Duplicated effort: Too many separate systems often lead to a duplication of effort as each team tries to recreate what another team has already done. This wastes time and resources that could be better spent elsewhere in the organization.
  4. Fractured culture: A culture of competition between departments rather than collaboration can lead to further siloing within an organization as teams try to protect their own turf instead of working together towards common goals.
  5. Compromised data security: When multiple systems are used by different departments within an organization, it increases the risk of security breaches as hackers may be able to exploit weaknesses in one system, especially legacy systems while remaining undetected in another due to a lack of communication between them.

3 ways to dismantle data silos

Dismantling data silos takes a multifaceted approach, complete with the right strategic buy-in and technology that cuts through data silos to reduce pressure on your teams.

  1. Identify silos at their source: The first step towards dismantling data silos is identifying where they originate from and why they exist in the first place. Once you understand why your organization has created these silos, you will be better equipped to address them effectively and prevent them from forming again in future initiatives.
  2. Get high-level buy-in: Once you have identified where your silos come from, you will need high-level buy-in from senior leadership if you want any chance at success when tackling them head-on. Senior leaders must understand why eliminating these silos is important if they are going to support initiatives aimed at doing so effectively across all levels of the organization.
  3. Integrate data with an iPaaS solution: iPaaS (integration-platform-as-a-service) solutions are a key tool for dismantling data silos, as they connect different systems and applications to create a seamless data flow between desired endpoints. By integrating these systems and applications, you’re also empowering workflow automation (say goodbye to those data-tracking spreadsheets), creating time for higher-value tasks and fostering collaboration between different departments or teams.

Find out how to eliminate data silos with iPaaS

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