Digitisation is an imperative step that all enterprises are taking and the advances it has brought in the industries is staggering. The advent of machine learning, predictive analytics, artificial intelligence, sentiment analytics, bots etc. is tremendously helping in the growth of the organisations. Not only helping in reducing effort and time taken by routine and mundane tasks but also are boosting efficiency and revenue. But herein lies the greatest irony—as the number of analytics go high, taking data driven decisions becomes tough.
One might debate that bringing in comprehensive analytics will help make data-driven decisions and smoothly drive business forward. It would, only, if it was empowered with the big picture of the organisation. These days it is all about data explosion. All the platforms, devices, systems, apps—be it in sales, marketing, finance, web, customer service, internal R&D, IT, and all of these—are generating huge amounts of data. The issue, here, is not analysing these sources but the data getting siloed.
If there ever was one thing that could stop your business from leapfrogging, it would have to be silos. Simply put, data is the boon in the growth of your organisation whereas siloed data is the bane.
What Exactly Is A Data Silo And Why Is It Bad?
Get this—in any organisation there are multiple departments, if any of them were to not perform to their potential, or worse, all of them were to perform in their own way without any strategy in place, what would happen? The business won’t grow and for all we know it might even go down slowly. Similarly, big data analytics cannot give you a 360-degree view of your organisation and customers unless all the information systems start communicating with each other.
Siloed data is simply isolated packets of data stored in different sources and it becomes prohibitively expensive to extract them to put into other uses. This is one of the main reasons how new-age startups are giving a tough challenge to established traditional enterprises—big data analytics is built in their foundation and they can leverage this generated from all the sources to supercharge their campaigns and win customers. It’s not that the enterprises can’t do it—they can—but the first step in digital transformation is killing data silos.
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The Sought-after Single View Of The Customer
Let’s take the example of Sentiment Analytics, which is gaining popularity these days. Integrating it alone would not produce advantages, in fact, it may make things worse. Things can go well until there arises a situation where you must drill down to the history of the customer who has written bad stuff about you on social media—all hell will break loose. Traditionally, since that customer’s behaviour is captured by different analytics which is working in silos.
How would you find out what went wrong? Was the product bad or was it the service? Or was it the customer support? Or there was some unexpected situation that led them to aggravate the situation? To make things worse, if a customer goes ahead to write a sarcastic remark on social media, you would never be able to find out the real reason behind it—in fact, you wouldn’t even think of finding out assuming it as a positive sentiment.
There is a compelling need for the enterprises to kill these silos and unlock the single view of the customer to take data-driven strategic decisions and launch contextually personalised campaigns for the customers.
What’s The Solution For Getting Rid Of A Silo?
It may be a common assumption that killing these silos means throwing away existing technology and years of piled up data, starting afresh, hiring new set of people and complete change in the operational infrastructure.
The answer lies in APIs. In the last few years, they not only have gained popularity but also have made way for the foundation of digital transformation for all the enterprises across the world. All these enterprises need is an intelligent platform that has the ability to bring all the disparate sources such as transactional, unstructured, social, mobile, offline, real-time, databases, legacy apps and make this big data actionable.
In order to achieve this, the executive leadership, leaders in IT, and support staff will have to come together to take a progressive step towards digital transformation. As it gets started, there might be need for paradigm shift in how the organisation works—initially it may be tough to work in tandem—but keep the end goal in mind and the change will never feel like one.
In the current scenario, the better control you have, the more competitive advantage you get. Unlocking the power of data puts you on a continual transformation path where you would then be able to look for high-value opportunities and analyse your business needs so that you can drive exponential business growth.