No More Silos: Shifting Away from Islands of Data

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When most people think of an island, what comes to mind is often a tropical vacation paradise. Swaying palm trees and fruity drinks with umbrellas, blue skies and lapping waves. In some cases, we may even think we’d like to live there. The problem with islands however, is that they are isolated. While that vacation might be nice for a short period of time, eventually we run into issues. Resources are limited, coastlines erode, there’s overpopulation, and weather-related problems like hurricanes or tsunamis. All these things can cause damage. Isolation isn’t a long-term solution.

Most businesses face this same problem-- isolation within our data. We create “islands of data” in order to solve an immediate need, often due to budget or time constraints. Need Point Of Sale software? Try this one. How about a bookkeeping app? Let’s try this one. And now we need a CRM. What we don’t think about is how that impacts the future of our business.

Most applications are good at gathering data. What applications are bad at, however, is giving that data back in a readable format, creating silos of information. Even worse--if you can get readable data, it’s not relatable to the other islands that make up your business metrics. The data lives siloed on islands, and this doesn’t offer any insight.

We all need “Business Intelligence.” BI is the process of gathering and analyzing data across all applications (these islands of data) to help make informed business decisions. This is a difficult task when the data isn’t even relatable to begin with. It gets even more complicated when there are many different integration points that can fail, or have issues at any given time. It’s not surprising people tend to stop trusting their data when this happens. Do you trust your data?

We live in an age where it is now feasible for small to mid-size businesses to look for a single application to meet most, if not all, of their business needs. World Synergy has partnered with NetSuite—and just as the name suggests, it’s a suite of business processes within one application. This shift has been going on for years, yet many businesses still operate within silos on their islands. How is your data communicating?

Businesses operating islands of data fall even further behind as the shift moves from traditional Business Intelligence to what is called “Self-Service Analytics.” Executives shouldn’t have to ask their IT Staff to pull a report for them when they need information. That information should be at their fingertips. Leaders and managers should be able to open their application and immediately see what they need, or they should be able to add in what they need, without having to put in a helpdesk ticket.

NetSuite is just such a solution. The beautiful thing about removing these silos and islands of data and centralizing everything is that you can TRUST the data. When it all lives in one database, you are looking at the same financial data in the CRM as in accounting. Imagine a world where rather than spending management meetings arguing over who has the correct report, you can instead focus on the metrics allowing real decisions to move your business forward. In fact, you don’t need to bring any reports to a meeting-- because everyone has access to the data and can view it at any time.

That is the power of Self-Service Business Intelligence Analytics: driving your business forward so you can relax on that tropical island vacation, without worrying about siloed information.