Breaking Down the Business Silos
Does your company operate as one coordinated enterprise or as a collection of individual business silos? All too often, companies tend to operate as a series of independent segregated business areas within the same company, more commonly known as business silos.
Unfortunately, this approach usually results in duplication of efforts and conflict of interests. Silos can occur in any company of any industry. Are there any benefits to having business silos?
Any Benefits of Business Silos
Business silos are rarely beneficial to a company. Each business silo creates their own individual set of systems, goals, strategy, processes and business rules that may duplicate or conflict with those of other business silos within the organization.
While this arrangement encourages specialization, it also prevents collaboration, creates boundaries of responsibilities (and blame), discourages knowledge-sharing and creates duplication of effort.
Impacts of Business Silos
The impact of business silos generally reach well beyond the company’s walls. It is accepted that different business areas have specialties but those lines between business areas should be transparent to the customers. How many departments should the customer be transferred to just to get a question answered?
Unfortunately, the customer is often subjected to different procedures, quality of service and overall expectations if they interact with more than one business silo. One business silo will rarely provide assistance to customers of another business silo. In part, it is because they do not recognize the indirect value and benefit of that time and effort spent and in part, because they lack the knowledge or abilities to provide any real assistance.
Learn to Operate as One Entity
For a company to maximize its potential and minimize its internal conflicts, it should learn how to operate as one coordinated entity. Knowledge between business areas should be shared and consistent. Business rules, strategy and expectations should be applied horizontally across every business and support area of the company. Collaboration, communication and networking should be encouraged and supported.
If you feel that your company already operates well as a series of “mini-companies”, think about how much more your company could achieve if every one of those business silos were operating in unison.