Breaking Down the Barriers — How to Eliminate Data Silos with Unified Legal Platforms
In just about every company today, there is more data than at any point in recent history. In fact, the amount of data being generated has increased tenfold in the past decade. This, as digital business models have fueled demand for additional information, which can be accessed, shared, analyzed — and acted on — rather quickly.
But the majority of that data is completely siloed, and its potential is underutilized. And that lack of access to quality data hinders business problem-solving and innovation. It limits legal departments and companies to functional-level projects, preventing them from pursuing their own legal digital transformation.
The good news, though, is that legal and other teams can move beyond this fragmented data landscape. With the help of unified legal platforms, which are accessible to legal and other professionals, they can break down these silos and consolidate data. They can extract data and get more of a holistic, enterprise-wide view of the same. They can cross-check and share data across the company, as well as become more productive and profitable for their organization.
To help you better plan for your digital transformation journey, here is everything you need to know about data silos. What they are exactly, what truly causes them, what their negative impacts are, and — ultimately, what you can do about them.
Data Silos Explained
Simply stated, unstructured data silos represent “some of the data, for some of the people, for some of the time,” according to Gartner. “A data silo occurs whenever a data store (or access tier) limits the way in which data can be joined together; a time slice of data is intentionally limited or partitioned across platforms, and some data is refused for inclusion because it does not support the intended analysis.”
In essence, data silos are collections of data that are inaccessible to individual departments or business units. What data silos do, then, is slow organizations’ digital transformation by limiting the discovery of — and access to — information, and preventing new analytical and operational opportunities.
Root Causes of Fragmented Data
So, how do data silos even develop within organizations today? Among other things, they can be directly attributed to the following:
- Industry or company culture — Specific industries and larger companies tend to separate and isolate departments from each other. But unless there are legal restrictions placed on sharing information, everyone should have access to it. Data silos only serve to ‘cocoon’ individual departments instead of uniting them.
- Organizational structure — Some organizational leaders develop silos to keep their operations separate from the rest of the organization. Although this particular strategy may provide greater control, a company’s hierarchical nature can affect all of its technological operations.
- Incompatible solutions — Let’s face it, different departments deploy various technologies. And organizations’ many needs may cause data silos as a result of incompatibilities and a lack of communication between these same technologies.
Negative Impact of Data Silos
Maximizing efficiency and productivity levels is one of the main objectives of organizations today. However, whenever data is siloed, it helps to accomplish the very opposite. In fact, it is even detrimental to companies’ day-to-day functioning because of the following:
- Ineffective use of resources — Maintaining individual databases for all department and business units only leads to the duplication of information and bottlenecks when it comes to accessing it. (Also, it is expensive to store additional, redundant information and apply data analytics to each set.)
- Inconsistent data — Failing to update information company-wide and making data storage repetitive run the risk of creating data inconsistencies.
- Poor visibility — Siloing data causes legal and other professionals to miss out on opportunities in various areas of the business, simply because valuable insights become dormant or go completely undiscovered.
In other words, data silos increasingly slow down “the transformation to digital business by limiting information’s discovery and access,” according to Gartner. And when operational data remains beyond reach to the majority of companies, its “potential value is squandered.”
Best Ways to Break Down Barriers
As mentioned above, data is a rather important factor in every business. And typically speaking, companies that are ‘data-driven, in the first place, are better positioned to break down their own data silos.
Data, in and of itself, does not offer much in the way of insight, of course. But when legal and other departments combine sources of data — using legal technology like unified legal platforms with business intelligence tools — they can better shine a light on this vital information. They are able to illuminate the business minds that drive everyday legal operations. They are able to leverage data to aid business decision-making and support new levels of customer service.
If you are interested in learning more about the best legal platform — built with visionary, validated technology — download our 2021 Legal Tech Buyer’s Guide.
ContractPodAi Cloud, for instance, is our highly configurable, no-code platform, which is designed for the way you work. That is because every aspect of our AI-driven system is crafted according to the principles of modern legal design thinking. Its pre-built applications, like the best-in-class contract management system (CMS) module and customizable legal apps help you handle and process, document, or scenario — from contracts to claims, and M&A to GDPR.
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