End Information Silos with Workflows

Information silos are one of the unfortunate side effects of modern enterprise apps.

According to one study, the average company uses 935 cloud applications in their day-to-day business, for anything from document storage to project management, resource planning to customer relationships, social media marketing or email campaigns.

Organizations of all sizes are using more apps than ever to perform niche tasks more easily and more effectively. Unfortunately, making use of all these thousands of productivity apps also leads to a growth in information silos.

In and of themselves, these apps are really fantastic, and the teams that use them get a lot of value from their chosen tools. Maybe your sales team logs in every morning to a CRM they found works perfectly for them. Perhaps your project managers discovered a brilliant PPM system online. And it’s quite possible that many of your departments have decided to use products like Dropbox or Google Drive for their own internal team files.

But here’s the problem. All those different cloud apps mean you have a lot of data stored in a lot of different, isolated information silos.

Is this a problem? Well, yes.

Can it be solved? Absolutely.

But First, Why Do Apps Cause Information Silos?

Information silos create all kinds of problems for your organization, including:

  • Duplication of efforts: employees don’t realize that another department has already resolved a problem or created a document. They can’t see this information and, consequently, waste time replicating content or processes.
  • Lack of synergy: technology can play a big role in ensuring the whole organization is ‘on the same page’. Your hip sales team might want to use instant messaging on their mobile device, but if other employees can’t ever access the information they are exchanging, this will lead to a breakdown in the company’s ability to work together fluidly.
  • Missed opportunities: perhaps the most worrying consequence of information silos is that, by failing to understand what other teams and departments are working on, your company can miss opportunities to make sales (or upsell).

So, information silos are clearly a big problem. Does this mean you need to enforce an inflexible information management policy and ban everyone from using their favorite apps and end the productivity tool free-for-all? Not necessarily.

Sure, there’s certainly value in asking if you need to be using all those tools. Perhaps some of them are seldom used, and there’s an alternative that would be cheaper and more effective for you. However, banning all those apps won’t be popular and won’t necessarily solve your problems with information silos.

Connect Your Information Silos in the Cloud

Nintex Workflow Cloud is one of our most exciting new innovations at Nintex.

Designed to respond to the realities of cloud-dependent businesses, the cloud platform recognizes that using many apps is the reality for employees today. A lot of these apps are incredibly useful and powerful, so it would be a shame to ban them in the name of stopping information silos from arising.

So, instead, the Nintex Workflow Cloud aims to make it significantly easier to connect the information between the different apps you use, and therefore break down information silos.

Additionally the Nintex cloud platform gives you out-of-the-box connectors for almost any cloud system you’re interested in, allowing you to work with the easy-to-use Nintex designer to create powerful workflows between them with little to no coding involved.

This allows you to build workflows right across the enterprise, connecting tools like:

Let’s see how this can break down your information silos in practice:

Your sales team starts a new ticket for a lead in Salesforce. Traditionally, this information would simply ‘sit’ inside the app… an information silo where no one else in the company would ever know about the latest lead.

And here’s where Nintex Workflow Cloud helps.

You could choose to design a workflow which is triggered every time a new lead is placed in Salesforce. The workflow would then feed this information into a newsfeed on, say, your project management team’s SharePoint Site that alerts them to a fact that a new project may be starting soon. It could also be programmed to send an email to your CEO if the potential deal evolves.

All these workflows allow much greater flow of information between apps and, importantly, help different teams have an understanding of what their colleagues in other departments are doing.

In this example, both the project management team and the CEO are likely to want to keep up to date with new leads, and this approach means they’re fed this information automatically. It means they can prepare better and even provide the sales team with support.

Break Down Information Silos

In a world where the average employee is using more productivity apps than ever before, the Nintex Workflow Cloud helps you adapt. All these apps are useful; by connecting them with workflows, you break down the information silos that apps tend to naturally create and, in the long run, get the most productivity potential out of these tools.

 

To learn more about Nintex Workflow Cloud, read a recent blog post by Nintex Vice President of Product Ryan Duguid here.

 

Patrick Hosch

Nintex Lead Technical Evangelist Patrick Hosch serves the EMEA region but speaks internationally. He’s passionate about Office 365, SharePoint and Nintex, and enjoys helping others develop their tech skills. harmonie.ie selected him as one of the Top 25 Office 365 Influencers of 2015. When not working, he likes exploring new countries, working out at the gym and competing in team events such as Tough Mudder. Follow him on Twitter - @patrickhosch