February 10, 2009

Silo Busting

These days, it is popular to want to "bust down silos", especially among members of the vendor and consulting community.

Silos are loosely defined as organizations of individuals working independent of each other. In a retail brand, silos might include online marketing teams and retail marketing teams working on initiatives without significant collaboration or coordination. In a catalog brand, the catalog marketing team operates independent of the e-mail marketing team, or the online marketing team.

Intuitively, the logic makes sense --- if everybody is working on the same page, the customer should theoretically benefit, right? The customer better benefit, because working as an integrated unit is hard work, much harder than having independent teams operating as a loose federation .

All theories, of course, should be proven with valid metrics, metrics that increase owner or shareholder value.

So here's my challenge to you, the vendor or consultant who promotes silo-busting strategies. Share with our readers a case study where tearing down silos resulted in the following:
  • An increase in annual repurchase rate.
  • An increase in orders per buyer per year.
  • An increase in the percentage of customers who purchase across channels.
  • An increase in overall profitability.
Use the comments section to forward links to our audience.

I've had the benefit of working in silo-based environments, and in fully integrated environments. There's something to be said for getting people to work together, regardless of org structure.