data silo is a collection of data held by one group that is not easily or fully accessible by other groups in the same organisation. This is incredibly common among businesses that are interested in PIM systems. Data may be held in different Excel sheets, ERP systems, catalogues, websites, etc. and only certain departments have access to different sections of data. This blog highlights some of the main issues with product data being silo-ed:

Asynchronous working

Working with siloed product data makes it difficult for teams to collaborate and efficiently work at the same time.

With a PIM system in place, teams can work on filling their relevant sections of product information at the same time. For example, the technical team can fill in dimensions and specifications while the marketing team populates the media and descriptions.

Slower time to market

Due to the fact that teams will work on the data at separate times, the time it takes to get products ready to sell is longer. This is amplified by the fact that many times with silo-ed product data, employees duplicate the efforts of other departments or waste time double-checking data for errors.

Errors within the data

Often with siloed data, it is difficult to know what is the latest version of the data and people often duplicate efforts. Without a "single source of truth" for product data, different teams may use different sources or outdated sources to other teams causing errors in the product information.

Inconsistencies in data provided in different channels

Similar to the last point, manually providing the product information to different channels like the website and the catalogue can cause duplication of effort which is more prone to human error. Many companies struggle with different data being presented to customers in different locations, and it becomes even tougher when internally people are unsure of what is correct. This can lead to a whole host of disruptions like unhappy customers, returns and potential safety hazards.

Incomplete data

On top of the errors and inconsistencies, we often find that data that is poorly managed in a company will often just be incomplete. Without good data management processes in place, and without a system like a PIM that allows you to view and manage the completion of your product data, it becomes easy for teams to completely miss some parts of the data. Due to the fact that each department has its own data in silos and has its own processes, it can prove difficult to know who is responsible for which part of the data and if they are working on it or not. This leads to parts of the product data simply being forgotten about.

Poor data damaging e-commerce stores

We have seen cases where e-commerce stores were being updated by different departments from different sources. This leads to problems like discontinued items still being displayed on the website because they didn’t use the latest version of the file. Inaccurate product data can also lead to unhappy customers and more returns.

Reduced cross-team collaboration

If every team within the business works on their own accord and has little interaction with other departments, it becomes difficult to encourage a shared culture, mission, values and collaboration.

Having the same data management processes in place across the company and a "single source of truth" helps employees work better together and inspires a more collaborative culture.