Silos Oriented Architecture (SOA :-)) is a typical architecture pattern used by organizations as they build their structure. Separate people into groups of experts, they believe, create groups that are highly effective and efficient in that domain. You know those silos, HR, IT, Marketing, Sales, etc.
The problem is that once you create a group, you immediately create the “We vs Them” behavior (in some extreme cases even dehumanization of the others). That becomes much worse when you intentionally create barriers between those silos for the efficiency of the group.
It doesn’t matter if you believe that organizations run like well-understood machines or as living organisms, in both scenarios, total collaboration and dependencies between groups are vital to your organization’s success.
Silos were set to increase the knowledge and efficiency of workers in the second industrial revolution. This change makes a lot of sense where people where the machines that generate goods. This concept is problematic for today’s organization and it is going to be ridiculous for the future of work.
This pattern harms your business more than you think. Try to fight and remove those silos, and you will see how you’re resolving some key and long-term problems you are dealing with (communication and customer satisfaction will be the first).
Removal of silos or a more wholeness approach of your organization is one thing easy to say and hard to do. If you have already done it or you have an epiphany how to do it, please share it with us.
2 thoughts on “Silos are one of the root causes of problems in many companies”
Siloed structure in an organization presents multi-faceted challenges that need to be addressed in a multi-pronged approach. Removal of silos calls for an organization to change its behavior culturally, create “easier” and user-friendly technical solutions, as well as adopt common goals that everyone in the organization can gravitate towards. First of all, you need to define a common objective to energize and rally the entire organization. Customer Success is often an excellent choice to start with as it is related to sales, operations, finance and to a lesser extent HR. To achieve customer success requires everyone in the organization to collaborate with each other. A set of key performance indicators will be created to measure customer success and a scorecard approached will be applied to monitor and improve everyone’s contribution to customer success. It will hold everyone accountable for the overall customer success and motivate them to collaborate for a continued collective success. Secondly, you’ll need to implement solutions to make this collaboration easier and data sharing more efficient. Siloed organizations tend to have many data silos. Elimination of data silos is the key. Often, the creation of a data repository that houses all the important data is a critical step towards the establishment of the single version of truth. Modern technologies such as Hadoop has made the creation of such a data repository a lot easier and faster (not to the considerable cost savings if you factor in the costs associated with maintaining an existing data warehouse). Implementation of an integration layer that will exposes all the data on a common data “bus” through API calls is also an effective way of data sharing. Additionally, a robust collaboration platform will need to be built to facilitate idea and document sharing. Removal of silos is never easy, but you will be able to accomplish it if you can consistently identify the common goals and create enabling solutions throughout the entire organization.
Granted, every company’s infrastructure and business process(es) is different and unique, so I’d be happy to learn more about the challenges that your organization is facing today, as well as the goals that you might be hoping to achieve.
Thanks for sharing. What do you think is the root cause of silos? Maybe if we will agree on the root cause we can find together solution that address it.