Even the best organizations can experience productivity lag as a result of poor collaboration. It's easy for silos to form when each team has its own specific objectives in mind - and when there isn't the infrastructure in place to foster cross-department engagement. While specific and distinct job functions are essential for a healthy business, it's also crucial for those groups to come together when necessary.
As it turns out, internal or external issues that emerge in your organization can represent an opportunity to build collaboration and get your teams working together. Such an issue could be a customer complaint, an IT hiccup or an inefficient workflow process. Collaborative issue tracking software calls for multiple sets of eyes from different departments to ensure a speedy resolution. In the process, you'll get your team to interact and work toward a common goal.
Why 'the silo effect' can dampen your productivity
In the business world, the term "silo" essentially refers to a team or department that focuses specifically on its own goals and tasks and grows less involved with other teams and their objectives. As a result, silos can cause redundancy - or even a "not our problem" mentality: Teams may unknowingly work on the same project, fail to procure necessary resources that another team is hoarding or fail to solve a problem in the belief that another team has done so already.
"Silos can cause redundancy."
However, silos don't emerge because of employees' unwillingness to engage. In fact, a Salesforce survey found that 86 percent of employees believed ineffective communication and collaboration is to blame for workplace failures. A staggering 99.1 percent of respondents preferred a workplace in which members "identify and discuss issues truthfully and effectively."
Moreover, collaboration has proven benefits for the bottom line. Accenture recommends using regular business functions to improve collaboration. For example, one company reduced its carbon emissions by 1.8 million tons per year simply by empowering its teams to share ideas and studies through an online platform, leading to the development of more efficient operations.
So if silos are bad for productivity, and everyone agrees open communication is better, why do silos exist in the first place? Sometimes, the drive to meet deadlines and reach targets induces tunnel-vision and there simply is no immediate, tangible impetus driving teams to reach across the aisle. But that's where issue tracking software can help.
Use issues to promote collaboration
A number of issues that organizations deal with on a regular basis start off in one department but end up affecting several. Consider a customer complaint - it begins as a customer service item, but could require input from sales, production, logistics or even the executive team depending on the specifics. Workflow issues touch every part of an organization, because a slowdown in one area will throw off the timelines for others.
But if the business lacks the means for managing these issues and bringing in all stakeholders, that problem will linger and those silos may remain. Instead, a solid issue tracking platform encourages cooperation and compels different teams to examine the complaint, IT issue, workflow inefficiency or other concern. That system will feature a user-friendly interface that will alert the right groups on action items and provide transparency throughout the resolution process.
Moreover, installing a comprehensive issue tracking solution can help change the mindset that leads to poor collaboration and silo growth in the first place. Ideally, your organization will come together on all areas, not just issue resolution - but by breaking down certain barriers, others may follow. In this way, issue tracking software can be an initial point of cooperation and dialog that builds trust and encourages productivity between teams and departments.
So while the best of these platforms will help identify and address all kinds of issues, it may also be the gateway to a more productive, more collaborative company mentality.