In a world of data-driven business, it's vitally important to have clean, accurate data. It may seem like an easy enough task but even the smallest insurance agency can quickly create silos of data that are outdated, not accessible, and inaccurate. IBM estimated that poor quality data costs the US economy around $3.1 trillion per year. One of the biggest reasons for poor quality data in insurance agencies are data silos.
What are data silos?
A data silo is data that is only accessible to one group/team in your agency or is stored in a system that is unable to share the data with other relevant systems.
As an insurance agency of any size, you could have data scattered across multiple platforms. How many of these systems does your agency use?
- Email marketing software
- Agency management system
- Marketing automation software
- Landing page or website software
- Filing cabinets
- Enrollment software
- Carrier websites
- Commission tracking software
- Call center software
- Lead vendors
- Referral software
Using these different tools isn’t the problem, it’s not having the data within these systems synced and accessible to your whole team.
The issue with data silos
Garbage in, garbage out - used to express the idea that in computing and other spheres, incorrect or poor quality input will always produce faulty output. The minute you have data silos that contain their own version of the same data you start creating garbage data.
A waste of money
It obviously costs more to pay for multiple software or data platforms. If you are able to do multiple tasks within one system that is usually going to be a better solution. This saves you money but also prevents data silos when the data can't be synced.
When one team or location of your agency uses a system or platform that no one else uses or has access to this prevents collaboration. When teams aren't collaborating it makes it hard to share a company vision that everyone is striving for.
Slow productivity and efficiency
Multiple teams storing the same data in different systems in different manners is grossly inefficient. Which source is the most accurate? Which one is most recent? Most likely the answers to these questions will probably vary. Now you're in a situation where it will be nearly impossible to merge the data sets.
How to avoid data silos
Consolidate your software systems
A whole-office agency management system is going to be the best solution for most insurance agencies to fix and avoid data silos. If your agency is already experiencing data silos then the move to a new agency management system is going to force you to break down the silos in order to import clean data into your new system. If you don't have much of an issue with data silos then getting into a whole-office agency management system is going to prevent them in the future.
Change your agency culture
As described above, data silos are usually the result of teams working independently from each other in different systems. Creating a culture of open communication across all departments can quickly uncover potential data silos before they get too big. This may require removing any competition between teams or individuals who may be benefiting from keeping data to themselves.
Create processes that prevent data silos
There are all kinds opportunities to build standard processes and automate insurance agency tasks. The idea behind these processes should be to increase productivity and data accuracy. When everyone is on the same page your agency can run much smoother and data silos will be non-existent.
As your insurance agency grows, data silos become more and more significant. The longer you put off correcting the issue or preventing it the worse it will become. Take a look at the capabilities of AgencyBloc and see how many data silos you could fix with a move to the #1 Agency Recommended Management System.