Data is the lifeblood of any modern business and as such we dedicate a great deal of our IT spend to ensure it is safe, recoverable, adequately stored and properly managed. Whilst the cost of data is often apparent, how we get tangible value from our data can be less so.

The ability to access and interpret data within an appropriate timescale based on need is vital to making the most of any information gathered by your business. Below we discuss ways to improve data accessibility whilst considering security and integrity.

Data Silos

Problems with data silos can arise in any organisation, in our experience they most often stem from:

– Company Culture – If teams or individual employees work in competition, staff may choose to keep data to themselves, rather than share information for the benefit of the business

– Hierarchy Roadblocks – In large businesses, staff are separated into many layers of management. This can lead to roadblocks, with information remaining in small groups, not trickling down to the employees who need it to complete their daily tasks

– Technological Barriers – Different departments operate using different programmes, this is fine if all teams are working from the same technology suite. However, if functions are using technologies from different vendors, they are often unable to share information or cross-reference data

Data silos are a challenge for almost every business and can require a major shift in company culture to eradicate for good. However, there are a few initial steps you can take to reduce the challenge and increase data accessibility.

Identify the silos and understand staff requirements

Firstly, identify the systems and processes housed in silos, this will aid in the collection of intel on your primary systems and who uses them. Secondly, by understanding data sets staff view as being the source of truth, you can better understand if there are complimenting data sets that you can be combined to improve information flow.

Enabling your teams to better share information

Across your business, different staff members may require access to multiple databases to get the information required to fulfil their job role. In order to share information, you should ensure data is being stored in a previously agreed standardised format under a single schema.

Incorporating a sharing procedure into your data management plan can be key to improving data accessability. We recommend meeting with different functions of your business and ask a series of high-level questions:

– What data are you generating?

– Who needs access?

– How will it be accessed?

– Does it contain personal information?

– Will access need to be restricted?

From here, if you find the data you need to share is in disparate systems, it may be time to find a way to integrate different programmes and streamline the data into one master database or document sharing platform.

Whilst improving data accessibility across a business takes time, its also an important step in creating an infrastructure that supports your businesses continued growth. If you are interested in developing a unique plan for your business and understanding the next steps in the process get in touch to arrange a bespoke review with one of our experts.