Heavy IT Dependency Creates Knowledge Silos and is Detrimental to Any Business
In the age of technology, smartphones, digitization, and the internet, startups have the potential to become behemoths. However, several aspects are crucial to their growth down the line – one of the factors that hinder the growth of startups is heavy IT dependency. This dependency on IT resources leads to knowledge silos down the line and can affect the success, efficiency, culture, or customer experience of any given business.
But what exactly is a knowledge silo and how is it related to depending on IT resources? Why are knowledge silos so important to prevent? Let’s explore the answers together.
Knowledge silo and IT dependency
This can happen in any organization nowadays. Most startups or even small companies have to maintain databases, digitize their operations, communicate with their customers, and more – all of which can be seamlessly done using technology.
While this simply means that organizations either use in-house or third-party applications to meet their needs, most of these solutions can create an unwanted dependency on the IT personnel. While IT resources are important, knowledge silos can be quite a hindrance and disrupt the smooth functioning of the organization – let’s look at an example.
An organization must have a CRM solution as well as an analytics tool to cover the various aspects of business intelligence, sales, and marketing efforts. However, most of the time, different solutions from different vendors are used, which means that knowledge among the different teams might not be equal.
Moreover, IT resources are required to solve issues regarding such solutions, and since different teams have different priorities, the knowledge becomes “siloed”. This might lead to information fragmentation and the proper flow of knowledge is lost. The right information might not be available to the right personnel at the right time, leading to inefficient operations and even losses. IT dependency increases among all the teams, and since smaller businesses have limited resources, it creates a significant bottleneck as managing all the issues can become a nightmare.
That being said, let’s take a closer look at the issues caused by knowledge silos.
Creates significant bottlenecks
As previously mentioned, IT dependency and knowledge silos both can be significant bottlenecks as they restrict access to information at crucial times. Usually, the IT personnel has complete knowledge regarding the application(s) – the team that actually uses the application only knows the basics required to use it. If the team needs something extra, or a new feature is introduced, they always have to knock the IT personnel for it, and, let’s face it, these administrative processes can be quite lengthy. By the time they learn about the required materials, they might have lost a crucial lead.
Wastes ample resources
Knowledge silos can lead to making the wrong decisions. Moreover, these silos restrict information within groups, leading to lower collaboration and more mistakes. For instance, if the solution that’s used by the sales team and the one used by the business intelligence team are disparate ones, the data might not be easily shareable, leading to different teams working in different directions. Otherwise, they need to manually work together, taking up an ample amount of time. If these solutions could effectively “talk” to each other. However, it has become a common problem among organizations, which is why most businesses are leaning towards using platforms that have multiple applications – reducing IT dependency in the process.
Slows down organization’s growth
One of the biggest issues with knowledge silos is that it hampers the growth of the organization. One decision can lead to success or ruin the organization, and if the crucial teams rely on IT resources all the time, the former won’t have access to crucial data, leading to making decisions on limited knowledge. When information freely flows within the organization due to compatible applications that belong to the same platform, decisions are made based on concrete information and can reduce significant delays.
Increased reliance on IT personnel might be detrimental
Typically, your IT personnel implements the solutions required for your business to work smoothly. Now, If the applications are complex, disparate, and if the IT personnel are the only members with complete knowledge, then dependence on them increases significantly, which can be quite harmful. For instance, the IT personnel is on leave, or has a lot of work on their plate, or leaves the organization – this will spell disaster for the operations. Now, if the employee leaves the organization, a suitable replacement has to be found, and selecting a competent candidate might take time. Unfortunately, waiting is not an option, and as all of the teams in an organization are important, increasing dependency on IT resources for critical operations is unfeasible, costly, and ineffective.
Hampers customer experience and the bottom line
If an organization is operating smoothly, regardless of its size, it can provide exceptional customer service that not only helps retain existing customers but also helps build up a reputation that can bring in new ones. However, knowledge silos stand in the way of doing so. For instance, these information silos can lead to customers receiving incorrect or irrelevant information as well as inconsistent responses – leading to bad customer service, leaving clients, and affected bottom lines.
Smaller businesses can reduce dependency on IT resources
However, reducing dependency on IT resources can heavily reduce knowledge silos, and that can be done in several ways.
One of the most feasible ways is by using platforms that have applications available. In fact, many platforms can help build applications that can be used for specific purposes. Not only does it help reduce dependency on IT resources, but it also helps share the information among teams, as such applications are compatible with each other.
Ensuring that relevant information is available to the right people at the right time is also important, and choosing a platform that can help users do so easily is another way knowledge silo can be reduced.