By 2025, 36.2 million Americans will be working remotely. One of the most common issues facing todays remote workforce is departmental silos that cause bottlenecks, redundancies, and inefficiencies in how time and other resources are used. These departmental silos make it impossible for teams to collaborate effectively and hinder organizations from seeing the big picture of the company’s overall financial performance.
According to Gartner’s 2021 Board of Directors survey, “Organizational silos represent one of the most common and chronic barriers to digital business success.” In order to overcome these silos and stay competitive in today’s fast-paced business environment, you must eliminate the inefficiencies and embrace rebate management software to revise and improve business processes.
What causes departmental silos?
Departmental silos occur when different departments fail to share the same technology, processes and standards – creating separation among departments that can lead to a plethora of internal and external problems for employees, executives, partners and customers. For example, in rebate management you have many different departments involved in the process including finance, procurement and IT, each led by a different leader.
- Lack of communication
Communication is often stifled, as departments focus on work specifically in their area of expertise and lack of vision and goals that benefit the organization as a whole. This complete disconnect results in duplication of tasks and inefficient processes. If there’s no communication, there’s no way to know if the work you’re doing isn’t simultaneously being done by somebody else in another department.
- Unclear roles or expectations
When teams or departments have a thorough understanding of their role in the company and what’s expected of them, they can be more collaborative in their work. Unclear roles and expectations can lead to duplicate projects, instructions that aren’t followed, and a general misunderstanding of what you’re expected to accomplish every day.
- Manual processes
Using tedious manual processes for rebate management means information can be inaccessible or unavailable in a timely manner. As a result, employees will inevitably waste precious time and, in many cases, never find what they need. This poses a serious risk that key business decisions will be made based on out-of-date and inaccurate information.
- Lack of team mentality
When departments within the business have different priorities and have lost sight of the overall goals, departmental silos happen. They begin to develop an “us vs them” mentality, seeing other departments as competitors and obstacles to success. This results in employees developing loyalty to their own departments, rather than to the business as a whole.
- Inadequate onboarding of new hires
When new employees join a team, it’s key to train them as quickly and efficiently as possible but if information is poorly documented and difficult to access, they’ll rely only on the people around them—thus establishing the departmental silo. As the team grows, the silo trickles down. Instead of all employees using the same well-documented and easily accessible knowledge base, each team will rely on their own disparate tools and methods.
The risks of departmental silos
Departmental silos can hamper growth, create communication problems, and lower employee morale. Isolated from each other, people separated by silos often do unnecessary, misaligned or duplicated work, which all prevent agility and adaptability and can effectively slow down the organization.
- Valuable information can be lost
Information is valuable, and organizations go to great lengths to gather and store it. But when information and data is kept in multiple places and overseen by individual stakeholders, it runs the risk of being lost forever.
- Duplicated work
The risk of duplicating work is high when it comes to departmental silos. Poor communication can mean that one department is completely unaware of what’s going on in another department. Not only does this waste a significant amount of time and resources for a company, but it can lead to frustration among teams which will impact motivation. One way to ensure teams are in sync without overlapping is to use technology.
- Ineffective decision-making
When managing rebates, finance and procurement need to have insight into everything so they can make the best decisions possible to improve the bottom line. Otherwise, deals negotiated by the procurement function will not be correctly exercised by finance meaning risks can increase and supplier performance can slip.
How to overcome departmental silos with Enable
There are several ways organizations approach breaking down departmental silos. One effective method is to employ an integrated and seamless cloud-based rebate management system with built in workflows and collaboration capabilities. Since information is stored in a centralized place, redundant data entry is eliminated, saving time and reducing errors and teams can be united even when scattered across the globe. They have the ability to track their deals, share and sign off on trading programs and get real-time updates. It tackles one of the root causes of departmental silos – visibility.