Information silos and data silos are generally seen as negative today.
It’s easy to forget that silos were a virtue in corporate culture in the ’80s, ’90s and early 2000s, when people were taught to keep their content within the department or project team. The reasoning was that by never allowing information to be mixed or shared with other departments you protected the security and confidentiality of the information.
Knowledge silos tend to grow organically as a byproduct of the way people work in organizations. But now, these silos are generally recognized as detrimental to knowledge sharing, efficiency and innovation.
Breaking down these information silos has many potential benefits for professional services firms. Here are five worth considering:
Breaking down information silos requires improvements in technology as well as company culture.
In terms of technology, the metadata capabilities of many collaboration solutions are important in breaking down silos. With metadata, you use a common set of terms to classify content and people across the entire organization. This common vocabulary allows people to search for information and one another in the familiar terminology used at your firm. The technology serves as a conduit, allowing you to tag and search for information across any silos that exist.
Collaborative technology alone isn’t enough to create a digital workplace at your firm. Even when you make it possible for people to search across the information silos, it doesn’t mean people are going to change their habits.
To truly share ideas across the company, the culture has to shift, and come from the top down. Without support from the firm’s leaders, employees are often reluctant to share. No one wants to stick their neck out and get blamed for making information vulnerable to security risks or other problems.
When you improve the collaboration tools and culture, you’re building a network, where people and knowledge are connected to each other rather than distinct. Think of the firm’s knowledge and people as a collection of separate dots. Then, start connecting all the dots or people to each other, creating a spider web of interconnectivity and productivity.
Learn more about helping your organization leverage today’s digital workplace capabilities to improve productivity by contacting Portal Solutions