Business intelligence departments are the visionaries of organizations. They’re focused on the next generation of products. So they often don’t feel a need to be in constant contact with IT or marketing teams. Likewise, the IT and marketing employees tend to stick to their own departments, preferring to work and socialize with those who are cut from the same professional cloth.
Most leaders see this separation as a positive one; they think a little competition among departments improves performance. But that bias, grouping like with like, is also what drives us to create silos in our businesses, and it’s a habit we need to break.
Silos have a negative effect on productivity. When each group works independently of others, they lack a unifying goal. They work toward their own milestones with no sense of how their achievements fit into the broader organization.
Too much emphasis on competition cripples collaboration, and the silo mentality prevents cross-pollination of ideas.
In previous decades, business intelligence units didn’t have access to real-time information about the company’s performance. Now we do, and it would be negligent to disregard the data in any decision made.
Business intelligence analysts can look at a campaign implemented on Monday and know by Wednesday whether it’s working. They can continuously update their projections of how consumers will respond to new products. Understanding customer frustrations today can, and should, affect the product being released tomorrow.
Without that data, however, the decision-making process is based on emotion and intuition, and these are often misleading.
The best way to make product decisions is to review your market and then examine your internal indicators. BI analysts can’t make well-rounded, educated recommendations if they don’t have the right information from their colleagues in other departments.
Business intelligence and technology should be integrated into every department. Rather than working in silos, they can enhance efficiencies across the organization.
Bristlecone Holdings is an example of a company that uses data to determine which markets to enter and which products to build. We constantly compare economic data with our company’s data. For example, we watch three months out to see if a recession is coming. If it looks like trouble is on the horizon, we brace ourselves by changing our underwriting policies and selling off paper. Both business intelligence and tech give us the power to make those shifts in real time.
Organizations that aren’t siloed also solve problems faster. That’s why we invite feedback and suggestions from different departments.