You’ve probably learned this hard lesson by now: everything you do boils down to data. Data helps you see where your shopping center portfolio stands, where it is going, and how you’re being impacted. That’s why your data needs to be up to date, accurate and in sync across your entire shopping mall portfolio. It’s the only way for your company to get anything done quickly, efficiently, and with future success in mind.
In other words, your data cannot be stored in separate warehouses throughout your organization. It has to be integrated and free of inconsistencies, errors and duplicates. A tall order!
A report from Dun & Bradstreet/Forrester Consulting report reveals that 72% of firms managing multiple CRM systems across geographies and technology silos says that doing this is moderately-to-extremely challenging. The report claims that “the greatest challenge organizations face in meeting their marketing and sales objectives is managing data and sharing insights that drive actions across organizational silos.”
When data is available only in silos (separate storage spaces), no one gets the big picture.
Let’s take a deeper dive by finding out what silos are, and how they can be altered to better serve your purposes.
What is a data silo?
It’s a collection of data that is held by one group but cannot be easily accessed by other groups.
For example: corporate may have its own data silo, as does your property management and Regional Marketing Managers. Right there alone, that’s three separate silos working on their own, independently of each other. Imagine how helpful these silos could be if they were synced up and working together.
The sooner this is done, the better. Data tends to grow as time goes on; also, the data in one silo may be an exact duplicate of data in another silo.
A problem presents itself: all this separate silo action prevents you from stepping back and seeing the big picture in your shopping mall portfolio. You’re denied a bird’s-eye view. As a result, you may be missing growth opportunities or pitfalls that could steer your company in a more successful direction.
How were data silos created?
No one in your organization is really to blame for data silos. They tend to happen organically -- every department tends to collect and store their own info. Each department may have a different reason for creating the silo, and may use if for specific purposes. In fact, they may even have built their own infrastructure, hardware and software to store the data, and that may not sync up with other data silos in your company. Basically, when it comes to data silos, different departments are working as separate operations.
The goal is not to destroy your data silos, but to integrate them.
Data silos in and of themselves are not evil. You need not destroy them and set your company free. Instead, the idea is to integrate all of your data silos into one highly functioning operation such as a shopping mall marketing software solution. Another term for this is Master Data Management (MDM). Yes, you can still keep your existing silos -- which can protect certain sensitive data and privacies -- but you’ll have more control, insights and accuracy when all silos are working together.
Specific ways that data silos may be standing in your way
If the data is kept separated, it can’t be shared.
Silos presiding in specific departments can only be seen by those in that department. However, if the data among the silos can be consolidated into one system and shared, then you may get a better idea of where you stand and what needs to be done to move forward. It’s simply being able to see and work with the bigger picture.
Separate silos may run the risk of inaccuracies and inconsistencies.
The same data may be stored in different databases, but if information is meant to evolve and change on a regular basis, not all the data may keep up or be successfully updated. As a result, the same data may become inaccurate or stale. It could cause confusion among your staff. With time, the same data on different silos will get out of sync.
Data silos may needlessly take up time and space.
Much of the same data may be stored in different silos. That’s just wasteful. Consolidating the data (and eliminating duplicates) gives you more storage space and gives your IT department a break. Ultimately, you won’t have to buy and maintain more storage.
Data silos mean your departments are working independently of each other.
Where’s the collaboration that will make your organization stronger and more in sync? If information isn’t shared, some departments are going to be left in the dark. The key to success is for everyone to be sharing the most up-to-date and accurate information so that your shopping mall portfolio can improve in every area.
Your organization may not be able to spot and correct red flags.
If you can’t see the bigger picture, you may not be able to have the insight that could fix undetected issues. Or another problem: a separate data silo may be able to detect one issue (connected to that department only), but not others. Issues that affect your company as a whole may be unearthed and never addressed.
The solution to data silos: data integration
This is simply using a dedicated shopping mall marketing software solution to unify all of your data information into one up-to-date, accurate solution. This way, all departments in your shopping mall portfolio have access to the same, accurate, current information, with no duplicates.
Improved collaboration and efficiency.
Everyone is literally on the same page. In fact, even if people are working on different campaigns for specific shopping malls (that are not collaborations), they will be able to use the most official data you have and share. Best of all, when data is updated or improved, everybody has access to it from a shopping mall Marketing Director up to a CMO. No confusion or varied versions of the same info.
Less time now needs to be spent on constantly integrating data, because a process for that is already in place. No more manual grudge work when it comes to integration, or having to sort out any confusion among departments. Generating reports are now smoother and quicker. Ultimately, your organization becomes more productive.
Fewer (if any) errors.
Data integration eliminates the risk of human error; it synchronizes and automates data so that the information is waiting to be used, in real time. No extra software installation or manual labor needed.
Increased value makes you more competitive.
You will watch your shopping mall portfolio's data and reporting efforts improve over time. Everybody in your organization will be drawing from the same well. If changes or improvements are necessary, the analysis results will be more accurate and shared by everyone.
All data silos can give you is tunnel vision. They may inadvertently sabotage your shopping mall marketing efforts by not giving you the full picture of your shoppers’ behavior and needs. Unifying all of your data silos into a dedicated shopping mall marketing software solution will give you a better understanding of how things are and how they could be improved. Data silos will keep you disconnected; data integration will make you whole.