A Knowledge Silo Occurs When Data and Document Systems Aren’t Interconnected Between Parties
Knowledge silos are a threat plaguing organizations of all sizes and in all locations. Silos threaten to prevent businesses from being able to adapt to changes in technology, laws, regulations, culture, and even speed.
Close-mindedness will result in wasted energy and lower profits, not to mention a culture of unease or unhappiness throughout the company. Thankfully, there are ways to prevent silos from destroying your company’s productivity.
Document management software might seem like a simple solution to a profound problem, and that’s because it is. While software can’t directly change policies or people, it can create an environment that will effectively eliminate silos and promote healthy collaboration.
What Are Information or Knowledge Silos?
It’s critical to understand what an information silo is before you can understand how DMS will help prevent or solve the problems a silo creates. Silos are, in essence, a lack of communication and collaboration, where nobody is on the same page and inefficiency reigns supreme.
Silos are much like high school—you have several to dozens of small cliques made up of specific types of individuals who work well on their own but are incompatible with other groups.
But instead of jocks, drama students, the AV club, and outcasts, you have work groups made of IT, marketing, management, and finance departments. This is the kind of “silo mentality” that leads to knowledge silos.
Silos are usually the result of an organization’s mentality and structure. Keep in mind they are not the result of deliberate isolation and selfish behaviors.
Rather, silos can form when managers focus on individual departments, departments work in isolation, goals are kept on an individual department basis, or communication as a whole is not fostered and encouraged.
Silos keep people from understanding what other departments and individuals are doing, effectively forcing everyone to work in a partial state of isolation. The result of a silo in your business is a lack of productivity, poor morale on a company-wide scale, and, inevitably, poor financial performance.
Solving the Problem
It is important to mention that silos are the result of many factors, including corporate policies and individual mangers. For individual businesses it can be a real challenge to not only identify the causes of silos but to then implement solutions.
However, there is one universal issue that all information silos share, and that’s difficulty sharing information and data. One hugely important method for breaking down silos is to implement document management software, like that provided by eFileCabinet.
DMS provides a digital platform that will make it possible to keep track of vast quantities of data in an organized way, while simultaneously enhancing communication and fostering collaboration. How can a DMS break down a silo in your company? By targeting specific areas of weakness.
How DMS Will Break Down the Knowledge Silos
DMS can be used to prevent several specific problems that are known to cause silos. First and foremost, document management services will make it easy for everyone within a company to communicate and will create an environment where doing so is natural.
Many businesses use archaic software programs that have difficulty communicating with other software and hardware. Because communication is about more than actually speaking to a coworker face-to-face, DMS will expand the ways employees can interact with each other.
DMS will enhance communication by providing a system that almost eliminates compatibility issues between computers, devices, and documents. It’s hard to collaborate with marketing if your IT documents can’t be viewed on their machines.
But DMS will enable all old, current, and future documents and data to be shared and accessed without compatibility issues.
Further, because all members of a company will be using the same data management system, workflow can be streamlined and enhanced. Old systems might require individuals to create something on one computer, print it off, and take it to another office (or email it), where another individual would have to scan it or download it and save it to their computer to work on it.
Once they were done working, the process would repeat with as many hurdles and time-wasting steps. But with a centralized, Cloud-based storage system that links every workstation and device in the company, the moment you finish a project or file it will be saved to the Cloud, ready to be accessed and used by whoever needs to use it.
As an added bonus, this will eliminate duplicate work and lost files (both of which can cost a company thousands of dollars in operational expenses), as every file will be stored using appropriate metadata while listing its creator, time of creation, and all other relevant information as it pertains to the system.
The First and Last Step of Overcoming the Knowledge Silos
Whether you are facing a silo problem at your workplace or you want to prevent one from ever occurring, using DMS should be the first step. It doesn’t matter if you manage property or run an art gallery, DMS will eliminate communication issues and provide a platform that promotes collaboration.
The technology itself will also grow and adapt to your needs and any new tools you use, allowing you to stay ahead of the curve instead of playing catch-up at a later date.
DMS won’t eliminate every cause of knowledge and information silos. Much of that will require changes in management and workplace ideology. However, the one sure way to prevent or eliminate a silo is to use a document service that improves workflow as opposed to impeding it.