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      Breaking Down Organizational Silos With AI & Cognitive Technology: Insights From Our Session at TSIA World ENVISION

      Oct 26, 2023

      6 minute read

      “Silos are the biggest obstacle to agility and innovation.” – John Chambers, former CEO of Cisco

      In the fast-paced world of modern business, think of organizational silos like opposing teams on a football field. These invisible barriers aren’t just buzzwords; they’re like impenetrable defensive lines, dividing departments and teams within your organization. And just like in football, they have a profound impact on your “scoreboard” – in this case, productivity, creativity, and growth.

      Recently TSIA held its conference – TSIA World ENVISION and touch-based on the importance of silo-busting to create cohesive organizations that drive profitability and growth.

      We were at the front row for this mega tech conference not only as attendees but also as Platinum Sponsors. And we had a great time there learning, inspiring, and sharing how to ‘Augment Intelligence’ across business operations to break down data, functional, and process silos.

      Lynette Ledoux, Customer Success and Search Specialist, from our subsidiary company SearchUnify, also led a session to highlight the dynamic role of cognitive technology in combating organizational silos for better customer experiences.

      Throughout this blog post, we’d shed light on what they talked about in the session and ‘how’ cognitive intelligence and real-time analytics play tag teams to tackle this challenging opponent head-on.

      Understanding Organizational Silos

      It’s characterized by individuals or divisions holding onto vital knowledge, and they do it for various reasons. Sometimes, it’s like a power struggle, where one team wants to hold the ball to feel more important. Other times, it’s driven by fear, perhaps fear of change or fear of being seen as less capable.

      There’s also the issue of organizational inefficiency; sharing information can feel like a hassle. Sometimes, it’s just plain old neglect – they don’t pass the ball because they can’t be bothered.

      Moreover, at times, teams aren’t even aware that the information they possess could be valuable to other teams. Inefficient processes and disparate systems can further exacerbate the issue, leading to the formation of these silos.

      This erodes trust, cuts off communication lines, and creates a sense of complacency. When your team’s divided into these silos, they can’t make informed, data-driven decisions because, well, they’re holding onto the ball instead of passing it.

      So, whether it’s inventory management, supply chains, distribution, marketing, or sales, when your teams don’t play nice and collaborate, it’s like trying to win a basketball game with half your players sitting in the bleachers.

      The Impact of Organizational Silos

      The consequences of these silos are far from inconsequential. Lynette kick-started the session by talking about the ‘impact’ of silos on business goals.

      She shared that[i]:


      In fact, apart from these stats, it should be noted that:

      Teams operating in isolation frequently rely on a variety of distinct tools to fulfill their responsibilities. These organizational silos further exact a significant toll on overall productivity.

      • On average, IT and business teams spend approximately 12.5 hours weekly (equating to 654 hours annually)[ii] wrestling with siloed data.
      • A significant 79% of knowledge workers[iii] have experienced organizational silos, with 68% expressing concerns about the adverse effects on their work, primarily stemming from a lack of insight into cross-functional projects.

      In her session, she shared 5 reasons why data, functional and process silos are detrimental to business goals –

      1. Create barriers between teams which hampers overall efficiency and can lead to duplicated efforts.

      2. Cause inconsistent customer interactions as different departments or teams aren’t on the same page, your customers and even potential customers may encounter a less-than-optimal experience.

      3. Reduce agent productivity as silos disrupt the flow of information within your organization. This means agents spend more time tracking information than addressing customer inquiries efficiently, slowing down the resolution process.

      4. Inhibit adaptability and agility as silos make it difficult to implement changes or respond quickly to market shifts. Additionally, for your support team data overload and fatigue, make it difficult to extract valuable information and impede informed decision-making.

      5. Increase costs and missed sales if your systems aren’t integrated. Managing multiple systems would require you to acquire additional licenses. Furthermore, tackling data silos may cause you to overlook potential sales and upselling chances.

      The Transformative Role of Cognitive Technology in Dismantling Silos

      Now that we’ve established the severity of the silo problem, let’s explore how cognitive technology can serve as a powerful tool to break down these barriers and usher in a new era of enhanced collaboration, both internally and externally.

      Cognitive technology can help to dismantle silos in a number of ways. For example:

      Cognitive Search

      Incorporating cognitive search tools empowers you to efficiently locate vital information throughout your organization, irrespective of its storage location. This eliminates the barriers between silos, fostering seamless collaboration.

      Natural Language Processing (NLP)

      Leveraging NLP enables the creation of tools for automatic document translation, information summarization, and data insights extraction. This breakthrough surmounts language barriers, facilitating effective communication and collaboration among employees from diverse silos.

      Machine Learning

      Harnessing machine learning equips you with tools that can discern data patterns and trends. This capability aids in pinpointing areas where silos present challenges and in developing strategies to dismantle these barriers.

      Predictive Analytics

      Leveraging cognitive solutions to scrutinize historical data, and foresee upcoming trends can improve your decision-making. This empowers you to make proactive, data-driven decisions that can be transformative for your sales, marketing, and product development teams.

      Cognitive technology takes the lead by offering end-users a consolidated perspective on data, granting them the ability to access pertinent information in real-time. SearchUnify is one such cohesive cognitive platform founded on a machine learning and insights engine.

      How SearchUnify Stands Tall Against Organizational Silos

      SearchUnify’s unified knowledge base solution revolutionizes how your organization accesses information, bridging the gap between departments and locations. Its cognitive search extracts pertinent data from diverse sources, using core AI components such as ML and NLP.

      However, the advantages of SearchUnify extend beyond this. By equipping your customer support team with AI-driven insights, SearchUnify elevates your customer experience (CX) to new heights. Its advanced analytics and reporting capabilities help your support team identify trends, understand customer behavior, and make data-driven decisions. This translates to faster and more accurate issue resolution, leading to a boost in customer experience, satisfaction, and loyalty.

      But that’s not the end of the story. SearchUnify also plays a pivotal role in enhancing employee experience (EX). By granting employees easy access to pertinent information and insights, SearchUnify empowers them to execute their roles more efficiently and effectively.

      Let’s delve into the real-world example of how SearchUnify enabled a prominent player in cloud security – Zscaler to beat silos.

      The Journey From Silos to Success – The SearchUnify Way

      Zscaler’s thought leaders shared what challenges they faced, such as issues like constant tab-switching in search of pertinent content, underutilization of their knowledge base (KB), inconsistent documentation tagging, and limited analytics capabilities that were hampering both customer and employee experiences.

      In response to these issues, they detailed how SearchUnify’s cognitive technology came to the rescue. The platform provided them with a unified perspective of their information landscape by seamlessly integrating diverse sources of information (online community, knowledge base, support platform, and documentation) with cognitive search. It uses fundamental ML and NLP to decipher search queries and user intent. The result is the delivery of contextual, personalized responses that truly enhance the user experience.

      Moreover, the implementation of a consistent taxonomy across all content sources significantly enhanced content discovery. The real-time insights derived from past cases enabled the support team to work more efficiently, resulting in faster resolution of customer cases.

      The outcome of this collaboration was nothing short of remarkable – Zscaler achieved impressive milestones, including a 56% increase in search conversions at the global self-service stage and a 5% boost in search conversions at the case creation stage, all within the initial three months of deployment.

      Want to Crack the Code to a Unified Organization & Better Growth? Schedule a 1:1 Discussion With Our Experts!

      The Bottom Line

      In the game of organizational success, tackling the constant flood of information and breaking through the defense of data silos is a real challenge. That’s where cognitive search steps onto the field, donning the jersey of clarity and efficiency.

      In this era of information abundance, the ability to quickly access the right data isn’t just an advantage; it’s a game-changer. Cognitive search is the star player, the quarterback of the team, offering a smarter, more intuitive playbook to interact with your data. With every pass and run, it leads to more informed, data-driven decisions, ensuring your organization excels in this fiercely competitive arena.

      Remember that – “Silos are the enemy of innovation.” – Jeff Bezos, CEO of Amazon

      Want to Steer Clear From Silos & Augment Intelligence? Talk to Us!

      Our experts would love to play a part in your journey and breaking down isolated divisions & unifying diverse insights. Drop us a line at [email protected] and let’s score those winning touchdowns together!

      Statistics References

      [i] Zendesk & Airtable
      [ii] TalkSpirit
      [iii] VentureBeat

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