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How The “4 Silos Of Search” Crush Productivity and Block Collaboration

by Tracy Linne 07/30/2020


We can verify your team’s complaint that half their time is wasted trying to collect the information they need to do their jobs.

McKinsey found that 70% of the workforce struggles to find information. And, a 2018 IDC study discovered that knowledge workers waste 30% of their time looking for and preparing information, and another 20% of their time building assets that already exist.

With all of the amazing information out there, why is it so hard to find and leverage it?

In most organizations, knowledge workers rely on four key types of information to make informed decisions. Collecting relevant information for analysis or collaboration across these “silos” requires spending an incredible amount of time just looking around before getting to the actual work at hand.

The Four Silos of Search are:

Public Data: Using search engines (i.e., Google) creates a list of publicly available documents, charts and graphs that must be studied for relevant bits and pieces.

Company Data: All of the information your company puts behind firewalls and other security measures (i.e., reports, presentations, emails, historical files, old applications, etc.) contain pieces of relevant data. Older information might be filed within applications that aren’t active. After pulling resources from each archive, larger datasets and documents must be reviewed to pull out relevant pieces.

Paid (Professional) Data: Huge amounts of industry research and news is often available in a variety of formats (i.e., via subscription or membership models), and sometimes different departments pay for redundant subscriptions. Gleaning relevant datasets can be challenging across different vendors and independent sources, especially when multiple teams aren’t able to share their resources – and make duplicate purchases.

Personal Data: All those PDFs, decks, bookmarked webpages and other documents that your team has gathered may not turn up during internal search efforts.

For most knowledge workers, there is way too much data housed in way too many places. The solution to the silo problem is to apply a new paradigm of search. Replace work-intensive indexing, investments in new data storage schemes, redundant effort, and endless wasted time looking for information. Manage your company’s knowledge so your team can access, apply, and amplify the collective intelligence of your organization. Replace the concept of searching for knowledge by having knowledge navigate to your team and you can transform your organization into a more productive, collaborative, and agile workplace.