Silos Can Threaten Big Data Strategy
“C-level support is also essential to the success of any big data strategy. Why? Because many brands are still working to develop a consolidated view of their customers, and, all too often, that work becomes a struggle. Then, without strong executive leadership, this struggle can pit departments against one another, and give rise to internal turf wars. Maybe that’s not surprising, considering that customer data is typically collected and owned by a variety of different departments. Marketing collects demographic data; product/customer support keeps customer satisfaction data; finance captures transactional purchase data; and so on. Plus, IT is usually involved in data management and control across multiple departments, which means that IT often also has ultimate ownership over data. In fact, Teradata’s recent research shows that less than one-third of marketers own and control customer data, while more than half rely on IT to access their data. In addition to validating the need for partnership between the CMO and the chief information officer (CIO), these results indicate how crippled data-driven marketing would be in a company that can’t squash turf wars and smash through interdepartmental silos.
I’m a realist, and I understand that turf wars will always exist to some extent. As Hayzlett says, “Wherever you have people and systems, there will be turf wars.” For me, the key is to rise above them. Here’s a tip from Hayzlett’s playbook: “Be clear what business objectives you are trying to drive,” he advises. “Emphasize that you’re there to serve the company, to help the company deliver on the promises you all agreed to make. That is what the focus should be on—what the group is trying to accomplish—not what’s yours or what’s theirs. This approach disarms the turf war, since turf wars break out around personal issues” (from, “Big Data Marketing, Lisa Arthur, 2013)