Slicing through the silos, what is a Silo? | #eBizWires


It’s time to translate the silos into centres of excellence through data driven ecosystems

Silos. They evolved out of necessity, legacy infrastructure and traditional processes. They played an important role in the evolution of business. They are owned by stakeholders and are filled with rules. They also need to stop. Silos limit the organisation’s ability to share data and information. The slow the progress, minimise collaboration and hamper the development of shared centres of excellence.

According to Enlin Neveling from Atvance Intellect, these centres of excellence can transform how the business manages costs, resiliency and revenue.

“Silos limit the sharing of information. It’s that simple and that complex. If one team creates a phenomenal process, they rarely share this with other parts of the company and this inhibits internal collaboration and the overall growth culture of the company,” he adds. “Data has long been touted as the ‘black oil’ of the 21st century and yet organisations are still struggling to capitalise on it and leverage its potential throughout the business because of legacy gaps between silo and business units. If the business can bridge these gaps, it can potentially improve its spend while increasing revenue opportunities.”

The challenge is to break down the walls and take bold steps that will fundamentally change the culture of the business and the way it operates. Which is, of course, not an easy task.

The challenge of the silo

“Ethical implications and data security are two of the most common challenges that come to mind,” says Neveling. “The promulgation of numerous personal information protection laws and the increase in highly publicised scandals has made many organisations resistant to collecting and processing data. There are risks and costs they’re not keen to engage with.”

Organisations are also uncomfortable with putting the data into the hands of the end user. Their monolithic data platforms are only accessed by a select few and this can have a negative impact on user adoption across the business. This approach disempowers the user and does little to engender trust. It is also often the result of cultural resistance – the age-old top-down approach is still entrenched and employees aren’t encouraged to be curious and ask questions. Both of these inhibit the growth of a data-driven organisation that inspires people to investigate, examine and explore.

“One of the most common misconceptions we’ve encountered is that companies think data has to be big to be valuable,” adds Neveling. “Most approach data analytics as a way of collecting everything instead of unpacking the actual needs of the business and then focusing on the data that fulfils those needs. This approach makes projects expensive and daunting.”

There are solutions that can be leveraged to make the collection and management of data far less tangled in bureaucracy, layered with complexity and littered with high price tags. One popular platform, Splunk, is designed to be as simple as possible. It collects and analyses the data you need so you can get the results for your business and processes that you want. It also isn’t a giant scoop that rakes up every last crumb of data, it’s a fine-tuned fork that will catch the titbits your business actually needs.

Where to find change

It’s possible to bridge the gaps and bypass the legacy challenges and redefine how data is shared across the organisation without having to reimagine the entire company. But it’s not a quick fix, it’s a process, each step taking the company closer to excellence and more strategic use of valuable data. The first and most important step is to start at the C-Suite and ensure that the data-driven approach is embedded into every structure in the business. Their buy-in means that a culture of data will evolve from within and expand across the different parts of the company. If senior management agrees on a common goal then this will snuff out the flickers of bureaucracy that remain and allow for a more curious and agile culture to flourish.

The next step is to establish a centre of excellence dedicated to determining what advantages the right data can bring to the organisation and any potential risks. This centre will play a central role in ensuring that sensitive data is managed properly and is compliant.

“Build a central data platform that can scale and grow with the business and embed data analysis as part of the business by establishing key metrics that support critical decision-making processes,” concludes Neveling. “We work with our customers to define clear and tangible outcomes that will benefit the business and help overcome the complexities of legacy silos. Our approach leverages best practice to deliver solutions that are fit for purpose, align with costs, and give organisations horizontal scalability.”

About Atvance Intellect

A deep understanding of the data-driven technology landscape inspires Atvance Intellect to find new and innovative ways to unlock value. Providing intelligent, intuitive solutions that transform organisations through the application of leading-edge technology, Atvance Intellect offers two areas of expertise: analytics and cyber security.

Atvance Intellect analytics transforms data into valuable information that future proofs business strategies through the application of the most advanced technologies. Using leading edge solutions, Atvance Intellect analytics analyses, interprets and transforms data in a meaningful, insightful, measurable way. The company’s in-depth understanding of business and customer trends and behaviours helps drive effective decision-making, providing valuable, relevant information that leads to increased sales and productivity.

Atvance Intellect cyber security enables an agile, connected, high-performing workforce with modern tools and continuous innovation in cyber security solutions to support an always changing risk landscape. Using state-of-the-art solutions, Atvance Intellect cyber security secures the business with actionable risk insights based on live data. The company’s highly skilled team helps customers transition from a reactive to a predictive risk-based approach, with real-time metrics that deliver real business value.

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