Master Data Management

Overcoming the challenges of data silos in large enterprises with master data maintenance

No one can deny that data has become the lifeline and backbone of modern businesses, helping them understand customers and stay agile in the dynamic market landscape. However, data quality, consistency, accuracy, and integrity are crucial to fully leverage data's prowess and facilitate data-driven decision-making.

Data governance plays a crucial role in ensuring businesses can rely on the data they have and make the right decisions to support their strategic goals. As such, data silos pose one of the biggest challenges that companies must overcome if they want to survive, thrive, and grow in today's data-driven world.

What are data silos, and why do they occur?

Although data silos may seem like simple data repositories, they occur when there is limited or no integration between the data from different departments or teams. Look at an organisation as a large puzzle, where every department, team, and system hold a part that is integral to the whole picture. But if every department has its own platform, system, and database, they cannot share data or communicate effectively, creating individual data silos.

Factors like a hierarchical organisational structure, specialised technology and tools for different functions, lack of data governance, cultural barriers, and uncontrolled organisational growth contribute to creating data silos. As every department, or team, starts collecting and storing data for their own purposes, data silos occur and grow naturally over time.

Challenges of siloed data

At face value, data silos may seem harmless as each department operates independently and has a specific use for the data. However, an organisation, as a whole, is a blend of interconnected and interdependent processes that support a common goal. Data consistency and quality issues of siloed data can result in inefficient and misinformed strategic positions.
Some of the most common challenges of siloed data include:

  • Inconsistent data
  • Incomplete, missing, or hard-to-find data
  • Restricted data access
  • Limited data visibility
  • Lack of inter-departmental collaboration

As a result, decision-makers cannot get a holistic view of the company data, resulting in wasted resources to compile data, impeding operational efficiency, hindering informed decision-making, and missed business opportunities.

Overcoming data silo challenges

Siloed data is not healthy, limiting accessibility and collaboration across the organisation. However, with the development of cloud-based tools and master data maintenance strategies, breaking down data silos is becoming increasingly possible.
Here are six strategies that can help you overcome data silo challenges:

Establishing clear data governance policies

Clear data governance policies and practices are the foundation for effectively overcoming data silo challenges. Establishing a solid governance framework encompassing clear policies for data integration, management, and sharing – along with roles and responsibilities for the team, has to be the first step in combating siloed data.

Implementing a centralised data repository

With a robust data governance framework in place, the next step is to deploy a unified data platform and centralise the data repository to create a single and comprehensive data source. Homogenised and consolidated data storage, accessible to all within the organisation, makes it easier to get a holistic view of organisational data and strategise accordingly. Integrating data cataloguing and metadata management strategies can further enhance the effectiveness of the centralised repository, allowing everyone to understand the context of data as they work with it.

Fostering a culture of data sharing and collaboration

Fostering a culture of data sharing and collaboration can help reduce inter-departmental competition, overcoming the cultural barrier and change resistance challenges of data silos. Building cross-functional teams and encouraging inter-departmental collaboration can help understand any data-related issues and promote a data-driven culture across the company.

Democratising data access

With a centralised data repository and a focus on driving cross-functional collaboration, you can democratise data access. This empowers employees with self-service opportunities to retrieve essential data, enabling them to make informed decisions. However, to uphold data security and privacy, it's imperative to implement an effective data governance framework alongside robust data access policies.

Investing in data integration and management tools

An organisation may use various platforms and systems for different departments. To establish and maintain a centralised data repository, it is necessary to invest in data integration and management tools, like master data maintenance solutions. Depending on your needs, resource availability, and budget constraints, you can opt for scripting, on-premises solutions, or cloud-based tools.

Providing data literacy training

Providing data literacy, management, and analytics training to the employees can help them understand the value and importance of data. These are critical in building a data-driven mindset and bring down data silos.

Implementing these strategies can help you address the challenges of siloed data and become a data-driven organisation.

How can Infosys BPM help?

Data silos are presenting a critical challenge in today's data-driven environment, necessitating businesses to seek robust data governance strategies and data management tools to fully leverage the power of data they collect. Master data maintenance can help businesses centralise their data, democratise data access, and build a data-driven culture. Infosys BPM offers a robust suite of master data management services for:

  • Ongoing data maintenance
  • Process standardisation, centralisation, and digitisation
  • Benchmarking performance with best practices
  • Operational and data analytics dashboards
  • Data resolution and quality assurance

Improve enterprise data management for precise, actionable, and accessible data that leads your business to data-driven success.

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