Quit The Data Silo Habit: An Intervention For Growing Businesses

Mario Farag

Part 2 of the three-part series, How IT Drives Growth for Midsize Businesses

When it comes to insight, midsize companies own a critical advantage that could become a turning point in their growth – massive data sets. Everything from sales transactions and customer preferences to supplier performance and market dynamics is at each decision-maker’s fingertips. And thanks to their size, these businesses are agile enough to act on this information with remarkable agility and speed.

But there is one nasty habit that can get in the way of achieving revenue growth, customer satisfaction, profit growth, and employee productivity – data silos. In fact, the IDC InfoBrief, “The IT Role in Best-Run Midsize Companies: Driving Value from Embedded Intelligence,” sponsored by SAP, reported that 65% of surveyed midsize companies support between 20 and 99 application integrations. With so many different applications in use, these companies run the risk of keeping data siloed in pockets of the business – unless all technologies are tied together by one common platform to form a core of business intelligence.

65% of surveyed midsize companies support between 20 and 99 application integrations

Source: The IT Role in Best-Run Midsize Companies: Driving Value from Embedded Intelligence,” IDC, sponsored by SAP, 2019.

The connection between data silos and business growth

Decision-makers typically use data that’s available to them, so when they have access only to siloed data, they merely validate ideas that impact their immediate area of responsibility – leaving out any consideration for the rest of the business. Furthermore, using this siloed data to automate business processes leads to a data-science model that only makes sense at the departmental level, whether or not its actions affect the performance of another part of the business.

The best-run companies that are achieving increased revenue, strong customer satisfaction, profit growth, and employee productivity have recognized this issue. According to the IDC InfoBrief, 68% of best-run midsize businesses strongly agree that getting data under control is essential for gaining and maintaining a competitive edge.

When a common language of data and insights is available across the company, every decision-maker can see the big picture of the entire business. Furthermore, supporting this capability with data management, data integration, and data integrity processes and technologies helps ensure the information communicated is actionable, granular, understandable, completed, trusted, and timely.

Once growing businesses understand the risk of continuing their reliance on data silos and the potential benefits when they let go of them, the solution becomes clear. What they need is the ability to build, integrate, and extend applications for every department and role quickly, easily, and affordably – all of which can be found in the cloud.

Adoption of an open cloud platform allows the personalization of user experiences to match the needs of individual priorities and integrates them with the core business application. This approach modernizes and connects core business technologies, processes, and data to improve the precision and speed of decision-making with embedded intelligent capabilities such as machine learning and artificial intelligence.

Limitless growth potential with insight into the entire business

Siloed data brings siloed thinking, which presents significant obstacles to growth. And when you consider no midsize business can afford – nor should want – such a limitation, the idea that data silos still exist can be mind-boggling.

Fortunately, it is possible to get over a data silo habit without disrupting operations. With a core digital platform running in the cloud, growing companies can integrate existing systems, processes, and crucial business knowledge to become connected and capable of making accurate decisions with agility and speed.

Get more expert insights and recommendations on how investing in advanced technology can help address the IT challenges of growing businesses. We invite you to bookmark our series landing page, “How IT Drives Growth for Midsize Businesses,” and check it for new insights and best practices. 

In the meantime, read the IDC InfoBrief, “The IT Role in Best-Run Midsize Companies: Driving Value from Embedded Intelligence,” sponsored by SAP, for real-world findings on opportunities that can help IT organizations in midsize companies pave the way to long-term growth.

Mario Farag

About Mario Farag

Mario Farag is senior director of analytics marketing with SAP. With over 15 years of experience in the software industry, Mario has served in various functions from business operations to product management and go-to-market strategies. Currently, Mario is responsible for SAP’s analytics strategy for small and midsize businesses as well as channel partners.