In a recent survey, 97% of industry leaders believed democratizing data access across their company was important for business success.
Data silos are a major blocker to data democratization and the truly data-driven enterprise. Preventing them, therefore, has real business benefits.
How do data silos come about?
Data silos are repositories of data that teams or departments keep isolated from the rest of the organization. This can happen by accident or by design as a result of:
- Company culture. Teams within your organization may feel like they’re in competition with each other. They feel protective of their data or the insights they gained from it. This makes them resistant to sharing.
- Security measures. Your company takes pride in its security and compliance. Rightly so. But without balance, your company may be sacrificing the gains of data sharing.
- Incompatible applications. As your company grew, digitization efforts were isolated, or stakeholders were left out. Now data sources don’t play well together. This is especially true of more recent solutions versus legacy systems.
- Lack of digitization. Certain areas of your business may lack the technological maturity to enable effective data sharing. As a result, the data these teams gather remains inaccessible to others.
The above explains how data silos may have been built into your business. The rest of this blog explores the risks you face as a result and how a live data catalog can break those silos down.
The problems data silos cause
A large US business loses, on average, $47million in productivity due to inefficient knowledge sharing. And knowledge workers waste over five hours every week waiting for information or recreating an existing resource. This is all according to a workplace productivity report.
Isolated data isolates your people from the information they need. This can cause issues like:
- Incomplete data sets. Inaccessible data may mean incomplete data. Users make uninformed decisions. A single column of data could bring essential context to an analysis but may be siloed in another business area.
- Inconsistent data. When data is siloed, the way that it is stored and interpreted can become misaligned across departments. This creates challenges in joining data. For instance, sales and marketing may define ‘customer’ differently than finance. Or, departments might use different methodologies for calculating key metrics.
- Poor collaboration. If information sharing can’t happen, collaboration is stunted. This happens when it’s difficult to send or receive data. But it can also happen if shared information is not in a format the recipient can work with.
- Compliance risks. Data silos can prevent IT even knowing about information they need to keep secure. This happens when regulated information is kept in spreadsheets or online tools IT can’t access. It can also happen if workers use less secure workarounds in order to share.
Data silos drain an enormous amount of company resources and increase risk. So, how do you break down existing silos and prevent new ones?
How a live data catalog helps break down data silos
A live data catalog is an index of up-to-date, accessible data assets. Users no longer worry about how to connect to found data. While a static catalog tells you about existing data, the live catalog shares that same information as well as the data itself for immediate use.
Data silos can lead to inconsistent definitions of key business terms. For instance, right now marketing, sales and support might all use the word customer. But they might all classify that term differently. Finance then asks for an up-to-date customer list and gets three different answers. None of which match their working spreadsheet.
The live catalog grants your company one official customer list. It defines customer once and then supplies that definition to each area. This creates unity between these areas because of the master list from which all areas work. And if Finance needs to filter that list based on additional criteria to get a list of ‘paying customers’, they can.Share high-quality data across your organization - securely - with the CloverDX Data Catalog
Business users without any kind of inventory spend up to 40% of their time searching for the data they need per research by McKinsey. A live catalog ensures access to comprehensive data for every business area that needs it. It breaks down data silos because the data is:
- Pre-validated by IT according to enterprise-wide definitions.
- Cleaned and formatted by IT to be compatible.
- Universally accessible to all users across the business.
Bring an end to data silos in your business
Data silos limit the view of information in your organization. They reduce productivity, restrict collaboration and limit growth. A data catalog prevents data silos by providing a comprehensive, centrally managed store of data. This allows you to ensure consistency of usage and definition in your data while widening access across your organisation.
But in order to be fit for purpose, your data catalog needs to be up-to-date and accessible to all business users without compromising your data quality. CloverDX’s data catalog is designed with these needs in mind.
It allows IT to retain control of data quality and security while letting users interact with real-time data through an intuitive interface. It provides secure and usable data without the silos.
Watch our recent webinar on data democratization to learn more about how CloverDX can help make data more accessible, in a secure, manageable way.