The high cost of high walls: 5 reasons to de-silo now

Integrated work management can get information and collaboration flowing again.

Organizational Design

It's only natural. In a complex organization, with different departments, different teams, different disciplines and specializations and leadership styles, silos are bound to spring up. Nobody wants it to happen. Nobody intends for it to happen. It just does.

Yes, those silo walls just seem to grow on their own… which is why your organization must take active, intentional steps to stop them.

From ill-informed decision-making to avoidable burnout to plain old wasted time, siloed work management takes a massive toll on both employees and the bottom line. You may never change human nature. But the good news is, today's integrated work management technology can help bridge those gaps and eliminate the costs of siloing, including these five productivity killers.

1. Inaccessible information

if you spent time today asking around for crucial information maintained somewhere else in your company, you're not alone. A study of business and IT decision-makers in the US and UK found that respondents spent an average of 8 hours a week looking for, acquiring, entering, or moving data.

And when siloed information is passed around manually in individual files, or stored in different versions in various locations, it's hard to be confident of its quality or freshness. Researchers estimate that low data quality costs small-to-medium businesses an average of $15 million per year.

It's time to go beyond emailing around copies of spreadsheets, or trying to remember where you saw that one report. A single operating system of record (OSR) like Adobe Workfront can house all of your company's information in one place, including integrating with your finance, billing, marketing analytics, and creative production platforms. That way everyone will always know right where to look for the latest crucial intel (spoiler: it's not in your inbox).

2. Re-work, swivel chair work, and other duplicated efforts

Every team is different. But teams also do some of the same things. If they're working away in their own silos, chances are they're duplicating effort that could be better spent on more productive work and meaningful thinking. 

Then there's the pointless drudgery of having to manually move information between two incompatible systems - or, even worse, re-enter it by hand. If you have to manually mark a task done in two different tools, that's at least one too many.

An integrated work platform enables seamless sharing of templates, research, reports, creative assets, and more. Information in one integrated tool can be automatically migrated to the others. Your teams can stop plowing the same ground over and over, and start expanding the field.

3. Chaotic communication, poor collaboration

No team is an island. Effective collaboration is the foundation for any successful project. But the average team uses at least 4 different communications tools and 6 different collaboration processes

Multiply that thicket of tangled threads by each team involved in a project, and it's no wonder the typical North American company wastes 7 hours a week, or 350 hours a year, due to bad collaboration. The same study shows that 48% of organizations say the biggest hurdle to collaboration is ineffective communication between team members. 

Fortunately, it doesn't have to be this way. The foundation of a good integrated work system is clear protocols about where & how communication takes place. Imagine a project where all the discussion, from brief creation to project management to asset reviews to performance analytics, was in the same place and easy to consult. Then stop imagining, because all it takes is integrated work and a little smart process design.

4. Disconnected + uncoordinated = higher cost + lower impact

A major pharmaceutical manufacturing company has more than 40 brands and 100 marketing teams. Each team produced some overlapping material, but their individual processes weren't always transparent, so they had no easy way of knowing what everyone else was doing. The legal and production teams further down the chain were never quite sure when material would land on their desks, which made for frantic rushes when mutliple projects would arrive at once. 

There was no opportunity for teams to coordinate and multiply each other's efforts. To top it off, the whole process relied heavily on meetings, closed communications channels like email, and manual tracking documents, with the inevitable chaos that implies. 

In partnership with PwC, the Adobe Workfront experts at WNDYR built a scalable integrated work solution, with transparent project workflows and centralized communication. Thanks to automation, data is now synced across the connected platforms: no manual entry required. And campaign and project templates can be automatically generated from a single request. Life after the silo is looking pretty good.

5. Pointless stress

Every leader knows there's good stress and bad stress. Good stress (or "eustress", as psychologists call it) comes from discovery and focus, from throwing yourself into a challenge. It leaves you equally exhausted and invigorated. Every team needs some good stress.

Bad stress just saps your energy. Acute stress, our immediate response to unpleasant surprises, inspires aggression, fear, and defensiveness. Over time, repeated acute stress can snowball into chronic stress. Next stop: burnout.

The kinds of frustration produced by siloed work aren't good stress. Not being able to find that one last piece of information to finish a project. Missing important feedback because it was sent in a text to someone else on the team. Dropping everything for another meeting over something that could have been settled asynchronously. We're getting stressed out just writing this.

It's hard to quantify this particular benefit of de-siloing. But the next time you get a little frazzled by the friction of simply getting their work done, think about how much of that stress could have been eliminated with an integrated work system. 

A future that works is within your reach

How can we be so sure about the power of integrated work? Because we've made it happen for hundreds of thousands of employees around the world, in companies large and small. We're WNDYR, and we believe that complex technology should enable simplified processes, which then enable people to do what they do best. Contact us to find out how our world-class Adobe Workfront experts can bring this future to life for your organization, too.

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