The Internet of Things (IoT) is a growing ecosystem with hundreds of new devices connecting daily. A recent report by Gartner estimates that by 2020 the number of connected things will reach 20.4 billion. The volume of information being ingested is growing exponentially, and that data is sitting, waiting to be harnessed.
The information holds great opportunity, but only if it can be easily accessed. Companies invest thousands of dollars into new technology that promises to streamline workflows and build a better return on investment. However, the process of collecting and organizing data has, in part, mimicked the way teams segment in their company. This structure leads to data silos, where valuable information gets lost in the noise.
In any company, each team is interested in data that relates to their daily efforts. However, for a company to thrive, it requires that different teams share both information and ideas to make improvements to their processes. This necessary organic cross-communication experiences severe blockages and slowdowns if systems are too fragmented. The longer information collects and builds up in data silos, the greater the chances are that companies are losing out on discovering what areas need improvement. Segmented systems create a build up of isolated data that gets overlooked. As quickly as the data gets ingested, it becomes obsolete if left unused for too long.
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Silos do more than just slow down the process of interpreting and making sense of the information. It also limits the ability of teams to work collaboratively, as no one can visualize the bigger picture and how every component works together. With roughly 70 percent of today’s jobs requiring mid-level digital skills, employees need to be properly trained and invested in the technology being deployed. A reluctance to embrace new technology can worsen the data silo issue. Employees need to know what aspect of the system they need to be using—and they need to become fluent in using it.
For employees to be most effective, they must understand who in the organization leverages what technology, and for what purpose. Workers who understand the value of technology in the organization will find their skills improve and stress levels decrease. More than that, being fluent with all technology in the organization will reduce information getting lost. Employees who understand clearly how systems work together can use technology to discern valuable information that can improve workflows, reduce extraneous costs and increase productivity. Integrating systems into a single platform can resolve this serious problem and empower teams to find creative solutions that can benefit the organization as a whole and not just a segment of the company.
Without a consolidated system aggregating and analyzing the data, the responsibility of monitoring and making sense of information falls to individuals on a team. This limits the ability to quickly comb data for trends or serious malfunctions. Company leaders need the data as fast as possible to make the most informed decision, but the current process means opportunities are likely slipping through the cracks.
There’s no signs of a slowdown in how many new devices are connecting to IoT. As technology advances and improves, there will be even greater opportunity to use raw data to cut down on extraneous costs, streamline operations and improve daily processes. To combat the pervasive problem that data silos presents, companies need a solid IoT Vision and Strategy that incorporates a real-time consolidation platform that integrates their existing systems and visualizes them in context of one another. This allows for higher thinking amongst team members and the ability to see the direct impact of their efforts on other sections of the organization, creating stronger collaboration within the company.