​The cost of information silos - Should organisations cultivate a culture of sharing?

Many organisations have silos of information restricted to a particular team or department.

Many organisations have silos of information restricted to a particular team or department.

In most cases, there is no sound business reason for this and it could be costing the business money, according to Empired.

“The reality is that sharing ideas is where innovation comes from, so every organisation should encourage more sharing rather than less,” says Dave Paylor, Principal Consultant, Empired.

“In fact, the cost of not sharing is often more than the cost of sharing, if you take into account the value of the intellectual property contained in all the documents in an organisation.”

For example, Paylor suggests that an organisation might have five million files that have been generated over the past 20 years, representing 20 years of intellectual property (IP), which is of significant value to the organisation.

If employees can access these documents freely, the company can save time and money because it takes less time to train employees, create new processes and documents, and get the information needed to complete tasks.

“Every time someone produces a document it has a level of value to the organisation and this is what needs to be driven into the minds of all employees,” Paylor adds.

“Essentially, organisations need to turn an old way of thinking on its head. Everything should be shared unless there is a reason to hide it.

“This requires a cultural shift. It starts with trying to help people understand that, if silos continue, the value the organisation is getting from information is limited.”

Of course there is always information that must be secured, Paylor adds.

“But when organisations can create a culture of openness, they can realise the full value of the documents that are being created and stored,” he adds.

“Organisations that share everything that is possible to share will realise significant benefits both operationally and culturally.”