At the end of the rainbow a pot of Big Data gold
Big Data is the gold of the modern age. Companies hope for the blue out of the sky, but are often disappointed by the data they collect over the years. Lifting the gold can often be more difficult than finding the end of a rainbow. And the nasty goblin hiding the pot of gold scolds himself data silo.
Why you should break open data silos
One speaks of data silos when information is stored at different locations in the company to which only certain employees have access. Each department then uses its own (filing) system for data collection – whether in the cloud or locally.
This can make sense in order to meet compliance or data protection guidelines. But in most cases, data silos cost a lot of money and time. When collecting all kinds of information, it is often not considered that the data is an important raw material for big-data analysis and machine learning algorithms. Only when the data is used efficiently, big data becomes gold for the company.
Particularly in marketing or customer service, data silos hinder employees from addressing their clients competently and at the right moment. Often customers contact the company at various touch points during the customer journey: Depending on the problem, there are different contact people who store relevant customer information in different systems. In the long run, this leads to the creation of data silos.
Imagine the following: The marketing employee contacts customers with information about a new feature. However, he does not know that Mr. Max Müller is currently having problems with the basic product and is therefore in contact with customer service. Contacting the marketing department additionally annoys Mr. Müller.
To strengthen customer loyalty, you should avoid such communication problems. Satisfied customers who feel well looked after by you will increase your turnover in the long run. In addition, through targeted communication you can identify the needs of your customers earlier and offer solutions.
In doing so, you also save money. Because data silos need a lot of storage space and cause a lot of work for your employees in different departments.
Data silos can also be the result of a heterogeneous corporate culture: Rigid structures often prevent managers from thinking across departments, which in turn can significantly damage the company’s success in the long term.
Transform data silos into a data-driven business that delivers value
The advantage is clear: By providing customer information in a central data pool, you create added value for your business success. But how can you specifically identify and break down data silos?
The following steps are essential if you want to transform your data silos into a useful, data-driven business.
– Think about your goal: What business goal are you pursuing? What exactly do you expect from your transformation project? At this point it is important that management and IT work together.
– Get an overview: Where in your company is data collected and how is it used? Which department has access and which problems are solved?
– Prioritize duplicate data and ask yourself if you can consolidate data: Consider the value, sensitivity and quality of the data.
– Use artificial intelligence and machine learning: With systems such as the cloud computing platforms from Microsoft (Azure) or Amazon (AWS), data from different departments can be centrally stored, intelligently managed and analyzed. A holistic data structure helps you to create maximum added value for your company’s success. Make sure that the system you choose complies with the data processing guidelines of the General Data Protection Regulation (GDPR). The larger your company and thus the amount of data, the more important it is to implement an agile system.
– An important sticking point when implementing a new system is that it is accepted and adopted by the employees. Therefore, involve your employees in the process at an early stage so that they recognize the added value. Create a cross-departmental data mentality!
How to get your Big-Data Gold
The most important advantage of implementing an intelligent data management system is the ability to think outside the box. Companies of all sizes should approach this project with a vision. This is the only way to ensure that the strategy for your business is optimal and individual. Your new system must be future-proof and solve your specific problems. The rule is: as much standardization as possible, as much individualization as necessary.
There are basically two ways to break up data silos:
1) Use a kind of “adapter” that enables your existing systems to communicate with each other. There are various possibilities here: Infor ION makes sure that your applications work together. Sugar-Sell and Sugar-Integrate (products of the CRM software SugarCRM) helps you integrate your customer experience with all major business systems.
2) Migrate your data to a central data pool. Here it is a good idea to consolidate your data using Sugar-Sell (part of SugarCRM). To do this, look for a certified partner who is familiar with the software and will help you to optimize it for your needs.
There is no general answer to the question of which of the two approaches is right for you. Fellow Consulting first recommends a target-performance comparison. Data processes should be analyzed. Based on your requirements, a suitable system for your business can be identified.
A central storage is especially worthwhile if data is changed and used frequently or if many computationally complex operations are performed with the data. By the way, it is a misconception that a central solution is very difficult to implement: If the project is properly planned and set up, it is even easier to integrate a centralized system than to ensure that all “adapters” communicate reliably with each other.
No matter which of the two approaches you choose, it is advantageous to work with a partner who is familiar with data silos and their transformation and who can show you possible solutions for your individual needs.
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