Breaking Down Silos with Enterprise Work Management Solutions

Productivity, sharing, efficiency, best practices, continuous improvement, effective task management. We’ve heard all the terms. We’ve been empowered time and time again to imagine, make, incorporate, and implement better ways to do things. Sometimes they stick. Sometimes they are just the latest flavor of the month that some C-level thought up and decided to promote… only to have the enthusiasm and training and forward thinking and effective incorporation of behavioral and process change dry up at the first sign of failure. The fever goes lukewarm and it’s gone by the next week till the next greatest mind blowing change is incorporated.

The silo mentality

Think of silos. In farming what do they do? They fully and safely contain one type of grain or product or produce under a roof and usually within a round structure so as not to be mixed or shared with others and stored for when it needs to be used or consumed at a later time.

In the business world, “silo thinking” is a mindset present in some companies when certain departments or sectors do not wish to share information with others in the same company. Does this sound effective, efficient, safe and productive? Not really. Safe, maybe… but when we want real resource satisfaction, job ownership, and accountability, and productive task performance, it doesn’t sound like the way to go, does it?

This type of mentality will reduce the efficiency of the overall operations, reduce morale, and may contribute to the demise of a productive company culture. Why silo thinking and behavior happens seems completely against logic and stands directly in the way of productive collaboration, forward progress, and meaningful cooperation among the different workgroups. But, it happens all the time. We can say it’s bad and implement policies against it and it will STILL happen. How 1960’s thinking enters the world of 2017 work management is beyond explanation, but it does and is usually the byproduct of some sort of power struggle within the organization that needs to be identified and addressed.

Enterprise Work Management Solution – what it is and what it should be

Enterprise Work Management Solutions – also referred to as EWMS – are generally robust tools targeted at the enterprise as a whole with the plan of empowering resources to harness and utilize shared information. The EWMS is usually designed to perform many base functions that help the business as a whole move forward collaboratively and productively… and efficiently – usually focusing on project management or task management. Optimizing enterprise work management is the key to profitability in a highly competitive business environment.

As project portfolios grow more dynamic, sophisticated and complex, enterprises need a robust work management solution that brings their teams together and empowers them to improve project productivity, performance, results, and success.

An enterprise work management platform can help cut down on this multi-tasking that often is required or is happening in organizations by providing a centralized place to manage and automate all forms of work that help run the business. Improving enterprise work management requires a sophisticated solution that can adapt quickly as business opportunities, requirements and technology evolve. However, you need to be careful about choosing the right work management solution for your business needs because it’s more than simply starting to use just any of the purported enterprise work management solution… there are many and they do differ. So research and demo to find what is right for you.

Work is bigger than projects

One thing we must keep in mind… we often think about work in terms of the project initiatives we are taking on. In reality, work is bigger than just projects. Work management solutions should be more than just tracking specific tasks and projects. For large businesses, they need help getting work done in the broadest sense of the word. An enterprise work management platform should give an organization complete visibility across all systems, with no duty being too small to list in the platform.

How EWMS takes us out of silos

The enterprise work management solution – which, as I stated previously – is often an incorporation of many key functions and modules that make the organization “go.” Companies need everyone functioning as a team. All management levels in all departments should be in sync. Collaboration keeps everyone on track with scalable project plans, team scheduling, and resource management. Leadership stays in control with real time status reports and dashboards.

A good enterprise work management system should let you visualize workflow processes, have live, real time data analytics and relevant, important content right in front of you in a fluid unbound interface without the need to go to different locations to retrieve the data. Doesn’t sound like silo thinking anymore, does it?

Summary / feedback

An enterprise work management solution is the future of project management and the future of overall task and work management for the organization. Why would an organization want to invest in tools to perform these functions separately and work separately when one solution with one vendor can do it all? And do it all well. Think DevOps – with DevOps being a software development and delivery process that emphasizes communication and collaboration between product management, software development, operations professionals and close alignment with business objectives. While the DevOps concept is designed to keep development and operations from working entirely separately (meaning you aren’t forcing part of the workforce to focus on sustaining operations while allowing the remainder to work on forward-thinking development initiatives) the same is true for eliminating the silo thinking mentality and utilizing a collaborative tool that ties organizational functions and resources together productively.

There really shouldn’t be the division and silo thinking that has been going on in the past. By merging the silos and by utilizing a solution across the organization that can make it easier for the entire workforce to be more functional… more productive… we’ve just added more available time and money to the organization by removing overlapping information, effort and expense. Win – win – win. Period.

Readers – what are your thoughts on and experiences with silo thinking? Is it an issue in your organization? Have you found ways to move past it or are there still frustrating pain points associated with it? Have you considered an enterprise work management solution to help the organization become more productive and solve some of the issues related to struggles with using and sharing data across internal business units and teams?