The costly impact of data silos
Data silos occur naturally over time, mirroring organisational structures. As each function collects and stores data for its own purposes, this becomes siloed data, despite the fact that all divisions are interdependent.
Data silos are common but their cost is often overlooked, posing a barrier to success.
As a business leader, there is a high chance you have had to make far-reaching strategic decisions in the past. Maybe you were deciding on a new market to enter. Perhaps it was saying ‘yes’ or ‘no’ to a new product launch. Data silos can preclude you from seeing the complete, comprehensive view of your business. One thing these situations have in common – you want to make sure you have all the data available.
Here’s a breakdown of what it really means to keep data siloed:
Lack of clarity for decision making
Silos prevent relevant data from being shared, meaning each department’s analysis is limited by its own view.
This creates fragmented organisations and prevents departments from making data driven decisions together, collaborating effectively on projects, or sharing in a clear and common goal.
There’s also little hope of discovering enterprise-wide inefficiencies without an enterprise-wide view of data. Data silos make it difficult for leaders and technical decision makers to see the big picture, as their data lacks overall context. This lack of clarity creates space for bad decision-making with potentially devastating consequences.
Holding teams back from achieving their targets
Data silos prevent teams from making informed and timely decisions. When looking for specific information, each data silo must be examined separately, resulting in disconnected views, reduced productivity, and sub-par data analytics. This is also a slow and laborious process, resulting in:
- Missed opportunities,
- Late identification of possible threats and areas of improvement, and
- Incorrect data analytics and reporting.
With an inaccurate view of results and a limited view of customer insights, this creates a challenging environment for employees to yield results.
Slow response times in rapidly changing markets
Competition, the need to cut costs, and the desire to seize opportunities are driving businesses to do more with their data. Access to enterprise-wide information is necessary to maximize operational efficiencies and discover new opportunities. It means less duplicated work between different teams and it provides richer opportunities for predictive data modelling, reporting and insights.
Connected data and the modern data stack is more powerful and can speed up the decision making process, allowing leaders to act quickly when faced with a new threat in the market, or beat their competition to market by identifying opportunities sooner.
What is the modern data stack?
Modern data stacks are a collection of tools and cloud data technologies used to collect, process, store, and analyse data. It prioritises flexible self-service analytics, governed data on trusted platforms, empowered business users, and speed to insight.
These tools often include a fully managed ELT (Extract-Load-Transform) pipeline, a cloud-based warehouse or data lake as a destination, a data transformation tool, and a business intelligence or data visualisation platform.
It enables businesses to integrate cloud-based data sources with legacy and on-premises solutions that exist in businesses of all sizes.
The value of the modern data stack
The goals of a modern data stack are to:
- Streamline data sources,
- Connect and analyse disparate data,
- Provide actionable insights,
- Improve efficiency,
- Uncover new opportunities,
- Identify trends, and
- Detect threats early.
This provides data professionals an automated way of staying abreast of the business and to provide valuable mission-critical data and insights to decision makers, through reports, and consistently up-to-date information to decision makers.
Reap the benefits of a modern data stack for your business:
Lower costs with cloud solutions
A modern data stack results in companies no longer having to be concerned about hardware and platform maintenance and the associated costs of on-premises infrastructure. With modern data stacks deployed in the cloud, it has become much faster to set up and iterate, eliminating the requirement for huge spend on capital outlay.
It can also significantly reduce data engineering costs, primarily by eliminating the need to build and maintain data pipelines. With fully managed data connectors with the ability to launch in minutes and deliver ready-to-query data to the business' preferred data warehouse or destination, it reduces the cost of data engineering overheads.
Achieve full visibility of data
Modern data stacks make it easier to identify and understand business data without guesswork. Having a well-managed and constructed data visibility programme allows a business to:
- Keep track of financial obligations, team performances, projects and resource allocation,
- Identify blind spots or weaknesses early,
- See how data is being accessed or changed, and
- Improve privacy and access control.
Full visibility of business data provides the business with deep insights, driving fast and informative decision making.
Identify trends and opportunities earlier
Modern organisations use historical data to generate insights to understand operational metrics and for the early identification of potential trends and opportunities. In today’s technologically driven world of big data and the Internet of Things, there is certainly no shortage of data to be analysed in order to identify opportunities for business improvement
Access to the appropriate business data when needed, allows a business to quickly and easily identify potential risks, trends and areas of opportunities, offering significant value to the business over time.
Be empowered as a technical decision maker:
Speed up the decision making process
Educated decision making is crucial to the success of new and existing projects. It is impossible to make reliable business decisions without all the information.
Intuitive and easy to use, business intelligence tools are designed to make data accessible to all business users and technical employees alike. A modern data stack provides the capability of speed, insight and flexibility in querying the data to build insightful reports and analytics dashboards. Having the data at your fingertips allows you to make smart and savvy decisions based on the complete business picture.
Benefit from new information faster
The time that data teams may have traditionally spent building and managing data stacks can now be reallocated to utilising and understanding the data, allowing faster time to insight, and an agile data team that can increase the capacity of data requests. A modern data stack provides a business with the capability to ingest data from various channels and data points, faster. More time and more data mean your team will be able to focus on new analytics projects which are focused on achieving business goals and objectives.
Drive data culture in your business
Are these benefits encouraging enough for a business to seriously re-evaluate its current data processing and reporting systems? A modern data stack is a solution that can help a business save time, effort, and money, and it encourages informative data-driven decision making.
It is faster, more scalable, and more accessible than the traditional data stack. Its main objective is to empower all employees to actively use data to enhance their daily work, and reach their potential by making better decisions easier and faster.
With its ease of use and data accessibility, a modern stack empowers business leaders in creating a data driven culture, and ultimately democratise data across the business.
What is data culture and why does it matter?
According to Tableau, data culture is “the collective behaviours and beliefs of people who value, practice and encourage the use of data to improve decision-making. As a result, data is woven into the operations, mindset and identity of an organisation. A data culture equips everyone in your organisation with the insights they need to be truly data-driven, tackling your most complex business challenges”.
Organisations that invest in technology with a focus on cultivating a data culture, are able to:
Future-proof the business
With valuable business intelligence at their fingertips, business leaders can not only track historic trends, but also allow for predictive data modelling. This data helps to unlock key insights and can help stay ahead of the competition. Using this alongside full customer journey data can assist in navigating changeable market environments and target the right customer, at the right time, with the right message.
Find out how we partnered with Mutualités Libres to create new high quality data models to achieve data uniformity, and facilitate self-service reporting and analysis.
Identify efficient growth opportunities
With a full view of business data, leaders can more easily identify the quick wins that will deliver tangible results. So not only can data highlight the many opportunities available to the business, it can also guide decision makers in selecting the best course of action to achieve the most reward for the least input. This is all the more important when budgets are tight and buy-in is harder to secure.
Discover how we partnered with Ocado to democratise their data to create new opportunities for growth.
Unite teams to achieve shared goals
As the benefits of a data driven culture become apparent, individual teams and departments will have an increased appetite for data analytics, data visualisations, reports, and dashboards to inform their ongoing decision-making.
Data engineers, data scientists, and data analysts get access to the data they need to work efficiently. Line-of-business data experts and non-technical team members turn to no-code tools to access the right data for their reports, programs, and campaigns. And, of course, data and IT leaders can continue to create a more data-driven organisation while mitigating risk and staying compliant.
Discover how we helped Secret Escapes find the right technology to empower their teams with self-serve analytics.
How to build a data culture with the modern data stack
For many businesses a strong, data driven culture remains elusive with data rarely being the universal basis for decision making. It is not enough to just simply say ‘we want to be more data driven’.
If leaders really want to apply data to improve business processes and enterprise decision making, then they must invest in establishing a culture of data across their organisation.
There are a number of clear ways the modern data stack can facilitate this that data leaders should consider, to help transform their businesses into data driven organisations:
1. Lead by example
Data driven cultures start at the top with management. When talking strategy in meetings, issues should be framed in terms of how the organisation will use metrics and data to measure performance, and senior management and C-suite executives should be encouraged to take their own data points to discussions. It is important to convey the use of analytics to make data driven decisions in everyday projects.
2. Establish a process for clear communication
For a data driven culture to function, everyone in the organisation needs to understand each other, and communicate clearly and effectively. Create a data glossary, a list of terms and their definitions to ensure the same definitions are used company-wide when analysing data. Organisations should educate their workforces on data and its corresponding terminology, including how it is used, how it works, and how it can benefit the business’ goals and objectives.
3. Promote data sharing and transparency
It is common for businesses to struggle with organising and controlling data, with units/divisions holding onto their own data. Making the sharing of data an objective that teams are measured against - the more effective sharing, the more the goal is achieved. Data is valuable. Breaking down silos and democratising the use of data benefits everybody.
4. Use data to standardise processes and unite teams
Teams often work independently and manage their own data. Whereas, interdepartmental insights generated by data analytics can help multiple teams increase overall efficiency and effectiveness. Data driven organisations operate with standardised processes, which allows data to flow with routine and predictability.
5. Incentivise data driven practices
To establish consistency, businesses can draw up a list of key objectives that the whole organisation can work toward, clearly outlining each department or team’s contribution to it. The reward system could recognise when employees and teams successfully use data to improve company processes, customer engagement, product quality, and other innovations.
How Biztory can partner with you to become a data driven organisation
Biztory’s expert team will guide and support your business to build a tailored data stack so you can unlock powerful trends and insights, and empower your teams with data.
As your partners in digital transformation, we will effectively integrate or replace any legacy systems and aggregate your internal data sources, in order to build a single source of truth for your organisation.
Through this process, your business will take a significant step towards dissolving the challenges brought about by data silos, and developing a positive data culture.
To discover the full value of effectively leveraging your business data to develop and cultivate data driven cultures for your employees and customers, download our whitepaper ‘Take your e-commerce business to the next level by setting up a Modern Data Stack infrastructure’.