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3 Signs That Your Data Is Trapped in Silos

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Read more about author Cameron Turner.

The path to data maturity begins with the realization that the opportunity itself is there. Whether you’re sitting on a ton of untapped data or you’re not extracting value from your data because of organizational restrictions, you may be aware by now of the endless possibilities of a mature data model. 

This potential can be realized by applying a product mindset to data and transforming the ways in which teams access, analyze, and utilize it, but the trouble is that many organizations are victims of restrictive silo mentalities. Often a result of legacy architectures, silos impede people and prevent desired business outcomes, even if the right tools and technologies are there.

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At the first stage of your organizational data journey, we look at how you can identify data silos and start moving towards a Data-as-a-Product (DaaP) maturity model that empowers everyone. Here, we’re shining the spotlight on the most common signs of such restrictions and how you can not only recognize them in your own organization, but overcome them to enable growth:

1. You are still relying on low-maturity, self-service tools and spreadsheets

The typical approach might see IT deploying a new data-focused technology that offers a self-service front-end for users, which can be restrictive by nature. We’ve seen this work on a cycle for decades, perpetuating the myth that new technology will solve every operational problem we might encounter.

The truth is that technology alone was never the answer. We don’t need new technology. We need new mindsets and processes around data usage within organizations.

If this scenario sounds familiar, it’s time to start applying product thinking to data so you can make it ownable, discoverable, traceable, and trusted. Only then can you start to move away from silos and ineffective self-service solutions and towards extracting operational value from your data.

2. You can’t access data quickly enough to turn it into real market value

Oftentimes, teams working in silos don’t even know where to find the data they need at any given time, which, of course, leads to massive operational inefficiencies across any given business. Silos kill the value of data because they render it inaccessible – you’ll be familiar with the missed opportunities around your data if this rings true for you.

Data-as-a-product thinking solves such issues because it’s based on building semantic layers into your data and transforming the ways in which it is accessed. This means enabling speed and flexibility across all business domains so everyone can get what they want when they want it from an accessible data marketplace.

3. You have a disconnect between business and IT and a lack of a data culture as a result

If the business has lost trust in IT to deliver data to users and the likes of “shadow data” teams have formed, it’s probably time for total cultural rethink.

In part, silos form when people are left to find their own solutions and, thus, come to rely upon themselves alone to deliver value. This lack of a universal, collaborative mindset creates productivity barriers that quite obviously hinder business growth.

By adopting an agile, bottom-up-and-top-down approach to data strategy, a business can instill a data-driven culture that connects departments and domains instead of leaving them to fend for themselves. When product thinking is implemented throughout a business, from CX to C-suite, silos can be broken down and the true value stored in organizational data can be unlocked.

Start Your Journey to Data Maturity

Can you spot these signs in your own organization? Realization of the opportunity is the first step on that journey towards data maturity, so the time to act is now. If you’re frustrated with your relationship with data and you want to change it as part of your strategy for sustainable digital transformation, seek out an expert to help your organization unlock the value of the data you have and prepare you for the data you are yet to acquire.

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