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Opening Silos: The Only Way to Achieve Company Goals

When everybody pulls the same direction, the amount of force is more significant.

Jiri Vicherek

Written by
Jiri Vicherek

January 28, 2019

To start, let me be crystal clear - silos develop naturally. For example, let’s take a look at how the agricultural revolution ushered in the age of specialization.

After the revolution, fewer farmers were needed to create the same amount of food. Since more of these former farmers had more time on their hands, they were free to explore other creative ventures. As specialization became more prominent, we started putting people from the same organization with within the same field into the same departments, since it makes sense most of the time. But if you don’t proactively work on bridging the gaps between these naturally occurring silos, it would be tough for you to achieve company-wide goals or to innovate quickly enough.

So why have we, in the business world, suddenly started to talk about “breaking the silos” so often in the last few years? To leverage specialization, you have to organize well, and most big companies were unable to do so effectively across departments. Every department is a world for itself, a country within a country. At the end of the day, every department is working for itself - not the company as a whole. Each department uses its own jargon and unique vocabulary. Because everyone is developing in their own ecosystem, people from different departments often don’t understand each other on both the linguistic and human level. It is most confusing when using the same word but thinking different meaning. It is pretty standard when presenting to the company that there are as many “margin” definitions as there are departments.

To understand the problem, let‘s simplify the organization goals into three categories:

  1. Company goals
  2. Mission-critical initiatives
  3. KPIs

Setting the right KPIs is not an easy task, but most of our customers got it right. They know what to measure on the department level, sometimes even on the individual level. It’s pretty easy to help people determine which KPIs they should be keeping track of since most of the data tools are actually single-purpose apps that help you achieve your KPIs in a specific domain. For example, ROI of the performance marketing campaigns, On-Time Shipping average, the sum of monthly billable hours, etc.

Problems generally occur when you get to mission-critical initiatives (challenges that usually need two or more departments working together to tackle them). It’s usually about this point in time when silos start to become a problem, and most of the data apps fail no matter how much AI is inside them.

This scenario happens because most of the company goals cannot be achieved through higher KPIs. The only way to get to them is through the mission-critical initiatives.

Keboola lets you unify all the essential inputs from various sources into a single cloud database, clean and transform them in a safe environment, and then allow you to send live data into any other app, usually CRM or cloud reporting tools such as Tableau, Looker or GoodData. Simply put, the solution lets you send data to different department easily with few clicks. Keboola is also the opposite of black box, meaning you know exactly what happens with every single digit along the whole way.

This solution enables departments, people within your organization, and even third parties such as external data consultants to share their data without the risk of damaging the original source or misunderstanding their meaning.

Keboola puts an end to arguments about the truth of information that people are using in meetings and the accuracy of their reports. Once you create a single source of truth, data becomes the universal language of the organization. When someone refers to a metric or margin, all interested parties will know exactly which number you’re referring to.

We usually describe our Keboola as a cloud-based data analytics platform that integrates data, people, and use cases, which is why we love briefs that go after mission-critical initiatives so much. These initiatives are the reason companies feel the need to break the silos, and that’s why we developed Keboola the way it is.

In the end, the company is the sum of vectors of all the workforce. When everybody pulls the same direction, the amount of force is more significant than when everybody is chasing something even slightly different.

If you want to learn more about Keboola, feel free to send us a message at contactus@keboola.com.

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