Data silos prevent collaboration, create operational inefficiencies, and compromise bottom lines. Learn how no-code platforms break down data silos and level up.Request a Demo
—Boris Bialek, Global Head of Industry Solutions
Collecting, storing, and managing large quantities of data is key to keeping modern enterprises running, yet many teams struggle to find the data they need. Between multiple CRM systems, spreadsheets, and department-specific applications, there are too many places to look. Before you know it, you’ve spent hours tracking down a single data point.
Data silos are to blame, but what are they? How do they form? How can they be broken down? Here’s everything you need to know—and how no-code helps alleviate data roadblocks.
A data silo forms when only one group within an enterprise has access to a collection of data, and the data doesn’t integrate well across any other tools, systems, software, or applications. Although data silos can include any data, even raw data, most silos tend to be department-focused. For example, all the data gathered, used, and stored by your enterprise’s finance team might be contained within the finance team’s data silo, and other departments cannot easily access that data on their own.
Unfortunately, data silos naturally occur over time as different departments gather, store, and use data for their own purposes. Beyond that, data silos are typically the result of:
A department might rely on any number of technologies and SaaS applications to complete day-to-day tasks, which isn’t necessarily a problem in itself. The problem is that these technologies often don’t allow easy access, sharing, or training, and silos can quickly form. Also, some departments are guilty of using low-quality, off-the-shelf software from time to time that isn’t advanced enough to facilitate quick data transfers.
Similarly, data silos can form when enterprises don’t have the native integrations needed to connect the disparate systems in their tech stack. Or, the data integrations only go one-way so data might fall through the cracks and cause inconsistencies between syncs.
Company culture/organizational structure
Sometimes technology isn’t the culprit! Different departments become like different branches of a family over time and they all have their own separate habits and ways of working. It’s perfectly natural, but this organizational structure doesn’t do you any favors when it comes to sharing data across teams.
Data silos may be natural, but that doesn’t mean they’re harmless. Data silos compromise your enterprise’s data quality and integrity in numerous ways, which in turn compromises operational efficiency, productivity, and agility.
“Good” data is accessible, easily understood across your organization, quick to find, and easy to trust once it has been found. “Bad” data develops as a result of data silos. Data silos often contain duplicative, incomplete, outdated, or inaccurate data because no one’s sharing information across departments. Data silos also make it challenging to source where the original data came from. Gathering the right data and cross-referencing information from each department wastes time, and correcting the data entry errors slows down processes even more.
Other challenges presented by data silos include:
Poor customer experience
In most businesses today the customer journey winds through multiple departments across an enterprise. When data is siloed, representatives from each individual department must pull up their own records for the same customer, and oftentimes that data doesn’t match. The internal disconnect across departments forces customers to repeatedly enter the same information, or the customer might receive different answers to the same question based on each department’s understanding. With American businesses losing $1.6 trillion annually due to poor customer service, data silos are more than enough to sink a business.
Poor collaboration between teams
Data silos can also chip away at your company culture. When each department is responsible for their data alone and other departments can’t easily access it, collaboration breaks down. Team A doesn’t know what Team B is doing or what information they’re working from, which only makes it more difficult to operate efficiently and meet customer needs. Also, constantly remedying data inaccuracies, eliminating duplicates, and simply locating data within silos can compromise employee engagement.
The financial costs of data silos quickly add up—the time your employees spend reconciling data issues is time taken away from more valuable business endeavors. If your billing and customer service departments aren’t sharing data, the right people might not get billed. If your marketing and sales departments aren’t sharing data, you’re missing out on opportunities to reach out to new prospects and generate new leads. Data silos can also cost you money by using up your valuable resources. Storing the same data in multiple places takes up a lot of storage space, and you’ll soon find yourself spending a significant amount of your yearly tech budget buying and maintaining storage space you otherwise wouldn’t need.
The best way to break down silos in your enterprise is to change the technology you use. No-code platforms like Unqork offer numerous solutions that can help you prevent silos from forming and compromising the efficiency of your operations.
No-code development makes integrations faster and easier to connect different systems, which in turn makes it easier to share data between different departments. Our integrations don’t require any scripting and you can use enterprise-grade APIs to add more functionality to your application. Once you use integrations to connect different systems and services together and create a unified, more efficient ecosystem, data will flow more freely throughout your enterprise.
Unqork’s codeless architecture and schema-free database, powered by MongoDB, also streamlines data management and data extraction. With a schemaless database, tech teams can enter data in the manner most beneficial and efficient for the enterprise. Any formal schema gets applied deep within the code of your application, ensuring raw data remains untouched. This approach eliminates time-consuming data normalization, eases data transfer and extraction, and offers increased scalability and flexibility.
Simply put: No-code platforms make it easier than ever for your teams to share data—not hide it—so your enterprise can reach new heights. Schedule a consultation today.