Data silos can be defined as a set of isolated data that are difficult to process for decision making. Often when large organizations work with independent teams, data silos are inevitable. Silo-ed data makes it difficult for marketers to present the right experience that customers expect, as they are not able to tap into the whole picture of the customer journey. In the omnichannel era, it is necessary to break down the customer data silos to provide a unique customer experience that can positively impact the bottom line or the overall revenue.
Let’s look at 5 ways in which you can eliminate data silos.
Unify Data Management Systems
To disassemble data silos, start by understanding the company departments, the processes, and systems they use. Take into consideration data collection methods and tools they use. To make this easy, think of data silos in the following categories: Customer account data, customer operations data and customer experience management data.
Once you have assembled the data, figure out if you can merge multiple systems together or if not, look for a new enterprise solution. The aim is to implement standardization. This will make it easy to collect customer data in a similar format that assists in generating meaningful reports.
Change Your Company Culture
When a company is scaled, it creates different compartments within the same department. It further results in departments working in self-contained niches with little interaction with other departments. Now, we are not looking at a radical shift when we talk about changing the company culture. What we are saying is, to break the data silos, encourage cross-departmental communication. When you develop better working relationships between marketing, customer experience, growth, sales, product, analytics and content teams, you not only help dismantle data silos but also promote interdepartmental harmony.
It is advised to implement a top-down approach to achieve this shift. Foster the culture of collaboration. Advocate different teams to be open and share data that will help them to be on the common path of increasing revenue and reduce the feeling of competition.
Also Read: The marketing problem of B2B data
Look for Data Integration Capabilities
Another reason for data silos is the stand-alone solutions used for various functions ranging from CRM, email marketing, social media to automation. These tools generate their own data and this leads to the issue of standardization. To tackle this, before implementing these solutions, evaluate if they integrate within the existing ecosystem. Many applications offer their API to allow integration. Look for alternatives if a solution doesn’t have integration capability.
Prevent Data Silos from Stacking Up
Once you eliminate the data silos, it is necessary to ensure that they don’t arise in future. You will be implementing new applications in the future to better cater to your department’s needs. To avoid data silos piling up again, whenever you’re evaluating a new software, speak with stakeholders across multiple departments, figure out how to manage the existing and the new data with integration or IT professionals. This will lessen the future problems due to data synchronization issues.
Set Clear Expectations
It’s obvious that data silos have been accumulated over a long period of time with immense amounts of collected data. Therefore, whenever you set out to work on your data, make it clear to the stakeholders and decision-makers to avoid making any headlong decisions about the existing data. Do not look at it as a set-and-forget tactic. It’s a long-term plan, and once you have devised the right strategy, you need to stay at it. At every step of the way, be sure to check that you are in the right direction. Always maintain data backup so that if something doesn’t go according to the plan, you have a copy of data to fall back on.
Dismantling data silos is crucial for an excellent customer experience. It’s a critical process, but a necessary one. As the adage goes, “How to eat an elephant? One bite at a time!” Set clear expectations, start small and keep at it. Having unified data at hands will give you a better understanding of your customers’ choices, needs, interests, preferences and other information to deliver a better customer experience – further enhancing the overall brand loyalty and optimized marketing ROI.