The management and use of information are some of the most pressing issues of our time. And it’s not so much a question of where to store data as it is of how to manage disparate data. Find out what the problem is and how to solve it.
What are information silos?
Every modern company wants to optimize not only its core business processes but also the storage of the information it uses. Most players on today’s market use virtual storage – a virtual data room, cloud service, or other similar platforms – for this purpose. The effective use of such storage depends on how well-thought-out the internal organization of document storage is.
When the number of files stored increases, some of them become inaccessible to users. Such data is called sparse data. They differ from ordinary data in that they:
- create search problems;
- misrepresent the analytics about the amount of data used in a company;
- deteriorate the quality of documents;
- create communication problems.
Sparse data and information silos occur when the storage system is not properly organized or when the amount of information exceeds its technical capacity.
Causes of information silos
How well you understand the reasons for siloed data determines how do you solve information silos. The most common causes of siloed data are:
- Outdated technology. Technology for storing and managing data changes rapidly. Companies or departments are not always using sufficiently effective tools for this purpose. Additionally, if business units use different platforms to store and share data, this, too, can cause siloed data.
- Insufficiently designed structure. Until recently, a fairly common practice was free management, in which each company or department could use different platforms to store data. As a result, each business unit created its own silos. In the process of changing the organizational structure, this problem may not have been fully resolved, resulting in disparate data.
- Poor corporate culture. If communication within the company is not set up properly, it can lead to miscommunication between departments and employees. Everyone will create their own silos to store important information. The result is not a cohesive corporate data system but scattered data.
As you can see from the reasons above, siloed data is most often caused by weaknesses in the corporate storage organization.
How do you solve the problem of information silos?
To alleviate the problem of siloed data, here are a few tips:
- develop a new data storage system that’s the same for everyone, from a single repository for the entire company to how that data is accessed and managed;
- develop a new data integration script – this could be done by having IT write an integration script tailored to the company, and using ETL and ELT tools for cloud storage;
- implement centralized access to data, including a self-service data system;
- work on corporate culture – this way you can avoid internal misunderstandings.
The problem of information silos is quite relevant to the way companies operate. However, there are fairly simple but effective ways to eliminate them.