The Danger of Data Silos – and How to Avoid Them

Are you familiar with the phrase “silos of information”? If you are – great. I hope your business isn’t operating in this style!  If you’re not – that could be an “uh Oh…” for how efficient and productive your business is currently.

“Silos of Information” in the general world of business means you have applications or software that don’t talk to each other effectively and therefore causes double-entry of data.  With a double-entry of information situation, there is so much inefficiency!

First off, you’ve got another staff member entering information that unfortunately is already in a digital format – it just can’t be migrated into other software. Secondly, there’s so much room for error. It’s similar to the old phone tree game where the first person tells the next person something, and by the time it gets to the last person, it’s something totally different.  Now I’m not saying the typist changes the data (although I AM saying double entry leaves a huge hole for mistakes). What I AM saying is that the typist could mistype, read a field incorrectly, or if there’s not an exact match in the data field, leave critical data out completely.

And finally, think about the inefficiency of this – the information is already in a digital form. Wouldn’t it just make sense for the information to go into this other application instead of paying a staff member AGAIN to enter it?

So, you understand that “silos of information” is NOT a good thing for your organization.

Now what do you do about it if this is currently your organization’s operating manner?

The best thing you can do is talk with your industry peers and find a good consultant familiar with your industry.

Here at KTL Solutions, we’re a Microsoft Dynamics Consultant and Trusted Advisor.  Now I’m sure you’re wondering so what, how does this help me?  Well, if you’re like most of us we live in a “Microsoft World” in our office – from Outlook to Word to Excel to Internet Explorer (okay, just kidding, I know we all use Chrome for our browser).  Since our employees are already familiar with the Microsoft Office Suite of products, it’s much easier to stay within the Microsoft family.  By working with a Microsoft Dynamics Consultant, we’ll show you the many options for bringing the various “silos of information” into an arena that can provide Business Insights like you’ve never seen before.  AND there’s no more duplicate entry (saving time, money AND room for additional mistakes).

Did you know an IDC report predicts that by 2018 (that’s now!), “70 percent of siloed digital transformation initiatives will ultimately fail because of insufficient collaboration, integration, sourcing or project management.” 

If you’re one of the pro-active ones, you’ve got all of your data going into one location that services all of the functionalities of your business to include CRM, Accounting, Service Management, Inventory, Project Management, etc.  That’s awesome!  But what’s happening with today’s workforce?  Do you have a stable and secure way for your new employee that’s secure and provides access to all of the datathey need to be successful?  Is your network infrastructure becoming outdated and can’t handle the new software upgrades?  Most businesses have an ERP and CRM system.  If you’re with Microsoft it might be Great Plains for accounting, SL for project management, or CRM for customer relations and marketing.  A Microsoft Dynamics Consultant can help you with what we’re calling a “Digital Transformation”.

We’ve all been using the cloud for a while now, for email hosting, document storage, backups, etc.  The one thing that hasn’t necessarily been successfully used in the cloud are the major ERP systems.

That’s all changing with Microsoft and their new Dynamics 365 platform.  Everything Microsoft has offered for in-house or “On Premise”, where you own your server, licenses, etc. can now be acquired through a hosted solution.  This includes your server!  You no longer have to have the physical box in your office.  With this solution, you and your staff can work regardless of an office power or internet outage!  Also, this changes the dynamics for your balance sheet and profit and loss statement (unless you currently lease all of your equipment), as the cost goes from a capital expense to an operating expense.

When you work with a Microsoft Dynamics Consultant, you don’t just get the advantage of having an expert in the Microsoft world, with us you also have the advantage of working with experienced accounting and business insight specialists.

We want to have a complete understanding of your business at the highest level so we can be sure the information captured into your system is accurate.  We’ll help you look at your internal processes and discuss what’s working and what needs improvement.  As they say, you get out what you put in.  If the incorrect data is being captured, your business insights and reports will be incorrect as well.  However, if we have a clear understanding of the business insights you need to have and grow a profitable business, we’ll help make sure you have correct data going in.

As a Microsoft Partner and Dynamics Consultant, we’ve worked with hundreds of companies in a variety of industries to optimize and integrate their processes through customized software solutions.  Through these experiences, alongside a top-notch team of engineers, accountants, and business consultants, KTL solutions has gained invaluable insights that can be used to make you a leader in your industry.  By getting your processes where they need to be, you will be able to see the big picture, increase your efficiency, and improve quality simultaneously.  KTL Solutions will work with you to enhance your current processes, give you tailored recommendations for improvement, and provide you with the technology to follow through.

So, what does the process look like when you work with KTL Solutions or a Microsoft Dynamics Consultant?  There are 6 specific phases a good MS Dynamics Consultant should follow with the goal of understanding your business and processes at a magnified level:

  1. Diagnostic Phase: During this phase, your MS Dynamics Consultant will work with you to determine the right solution for your needs.  The consultant will gather the requirements, conduct a process review, and take you on a journey through a prototype of your future solution.
  2. Analysis Phase: Here, your MS Dynamics Consultant should (we do!) talk with you further
    about
    your processes and requirements to make sure we have a complete knowledge of the business problems we are solving.  We’ll map your requirements to the Dynamics application and define the various solution approaches.
  3. Development Phase: As the developers develop your solution, the MS Dynamics Consultant tests.  They’ll test application features, data migration accuracy and processes.  They’ll also create test scripts and scenarios for final system testing and user acceptance tests.  They also make sure all additional and relevant configuration settings are correct and work properly.
  4. Deployment Phase: In this phase, your MS Dynamics Consultant will prepare your production environment based on the specifications determined in the analysis phase.  They’ll also work with your staff on end-user training to help garner buy-in and enthusiasm for this new process.
  5. Operation Phase: Your MS Dynamics Consultant should ALWAYS be here during this phase to work with the key users and end-users to assist in mastering the new application.  This is a critical phase for most as there will be many errors during the staff learning and acceptance curve.  Corrections, patience and guidance are the biggest needs during this phase, and a good MS Dynamics Consultant will be capable of handling it.

A good MS Dynamics Consultant will be competent in these areas as they should have a solid set of skills under their belt.  To make sure you’ve got the best for your needs, you’ll want to make sure they have, at a minimum, the following:

  1. Industry Experience
  2. Application Knowledge (this should include your various add-ins)
  3. Creativity
  4. Patience
  5. Communication

At KTL Solutions, we’ve got this.  If you’re looking for a solid MS Dynamics Consultant, whether to enhance the solution you’ve already got or have a need to understand if Dynamics is the best solution for your business, reach out to us at: info@ktlsolutions.com or 301.360.0001.  We’ll be happy to talk with you about your needs and see if there’s a good solution we can provide.  You can also click here and sign up for our newsletter to stay up with what’s coming in the MS Dynamics world and learn more about KTL Solutions.

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