How to overcome data silo obstructions & boost BI potential

Will Astbury
by Will Astbury 7 March 2016

How-to-overcome-data-silo-obstructions-boost-BI-potential.pngBusiness Intelligence (BI) reports based on Big Data analytics are becoming an increasingly important tool for decision makers in most major organisations.

Good quality BI can be the difference between success and failure, as it can help companies to streamline operations, predict market changes, increase customer satisfaction, and improve products and services.

However, many organisations struggle to tap into the potential of BI because they are experiencing massive, seemingly immovable, obstructions to intelligence caused by ‘data silos’; difficult-to-access databases that separate from an organisation’s enterprise-wide shared data network.

A report by information technology research specialists Aberdeen Group, entitled ‘Winter Is Not Coming: Eliminating Data Silos And Ending Information Hoarding’, analysed 189 organisations that were struggling to access Big Data due to silos. This article highlights the problems caused by data silos and suggests ways to overcome these obstructions.

What problems do data silos cause?

  • Slow down decision making – Data silos actually hinder BI users from making quick accurate decisions, and from streamlining the decision-making process. When decision-makers bang up against data silos, they are forced to wait for access or have to find the information they need elsewhere. This can cause BI projects to stagnate and become out-of-date very quickly. Decision speeds also decline, which is a huge problem as organisations are under pressure to act faster.
  • Poor quality data - Users who regularly face data silo obstructions know that the data they do have does not represent the most complete picture of reality. They also recognise that their analysis would benefit from integrating additional data sources. Information within data silos can quickly become out of date or inaccurate. Consequently, data silos damage users’ faith in their own analysis
  • Lower user satisfaction – Aberdeen’s report revealed that organisations with a data silo problem have 27% fewer users per capita who are satisfied with the relevance of their data. Users in these organisations often had to work with incomplete information, laboriously digging through irrelevant data when seeking insight. It was also suggested that just 15% of users in these organisations were currently satisfied with their data access.
  • Stifle ‘data driven’ culture – The research discovered that BI users operating in organisations with data silo problems were only able to obtain information within the decision window 55% of the time. Users repeatedly found themselves coming up against shortening decision deadlines whilst scrabbling around for the correct information from other sources. Many users were deterred by data silos and gave up analytical inquiries entirely. Nearly half of all time-sensitive decisions were being made using incomplete information and instinct.

How to overcome the obstruction of data silos

  • Take Action – Leading ‘best-in-class’ organisations were 40% less likely than all others to be hampered by data silos because they had taken action to break down silos and create sharing analytical cultures within their business. To achieve the same results, organisations need to identify problem areas and empower individuals to free up data and loosen the grip of database administrators, who often have “a perverse sense of information ownership”.
  • Focus – Once the right culture has been put in place, the best-in-class are focused on the volume of their business data and the pace of business. They need tools and talent to derive insights from huge volumes of data. BI users should be leveraging as much relevant data as possible. 79% of survey respondents reported that they had to make decisions faster than ever before. Data must be analysed in-time for it to support day-to-day operations.

Crimson’s IT consultants specialise in extracting information from data silos and turbo charging your business intelligence. If you would like to find out more contact marketing@crimson.co.uk or 01675466477.

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Topics: Data Silos, BI