Today, a business’s data is its most lucrative asset. If that data isn’t stored properly and is allowed to sit there idly, it loses a lot of its value. In the industry we call these stagnant repositories, and they are a root cause of the problems a business can face when attempting to develop a robust business intelligence platform.
What exactly is a data silo?
Data silos are individual data sources, usually isolated from other data. Today, data is frequently utilized when making business decisions. As a business grows, departmental data is often managed by that department for use, when needed. In many instances, these can be spreadsheets, linked workbooks, access files, or production database systems. Without clear integration to other source data, or strategic curation of the data used in these silos, the decisions made from this data may show a limited view of larger organizational issues, and may not be trustworthy.
What is this data good for anyway?
The data that is stored away in these silos can really handcuff a CIO’s attempt to do any true analysis of how the business as a whole is performing. Consequently, it makes it much more difficult to make strategic decisions that would best move their business forward. Since many CIOs are enthusiastic about their enterprise’s business intelligence program, having holes in their data warehouse can lead to mistakes being made, including redundancy and further inefficiency.
Understanding how the data is entered into the production sources is critical to tearing down these data silos. When data is integrated into other sources (such as represented in a data warehouse), the data can be curated and aggregated with the entire business in mind. By linking data together across sources and departments, the overall goals of the organization are put first. Curating the data as part of the aggregation function allows the organization to review processes in each department.
With data silos present, it can skew the interpretation of the data in ways that may not be correct. The lack of oversight into each department’s’ reporting analytics at the organization level allows for mistakes to be more prevalent. By eliminating these silos and moving to a centralized reporting and data curation process, your organization can build better cross-departmental decision making and gain critical oversight into the visualization of organizational data.