It’s Demolition Time: Tear Down Your Information and Workflow Silos

By | May 12, 2022

This post is part of a series sponsored by AgentSync.

Data and workflow silos are costing your insurance business time, money, and good people. It’s time to shed some light on these common issues and start breaking those barriers down.

Does the phrase “but this is how we’ve always done it” sound familiar? If you’re in the insurance industry, and it does, you’re most definitely not alone. A lot of things in our world have been “done this way” for decades, if not centuries.

Sticking with the same old way you’ve always managed your business may seem like the easiest route, but when it comes to making your business competitive, the status quo just won’t do. The truth is, insurance carriers, insurance agencies, and MGAs/MGUs are filled to the brim with silos. Whether they’re due to outdated processes, outdated tech, or people who don’t have the resources they need to share information effectively both inside and outside their organization, silos are par for the course in today’s insurance world.

Maybe you realize these silos exist and have been trying to find solutions, but to no avail. On the other hand, maybe you’ve been blissfully unaware and didn’t even know your status quo was causing problems. In either case, keep reading to learn about the common silos that hold many insurance businesses back from achieving their full potential.

Want to skip to the quiz? Determine if your insurance business could be suffering from a case of siloitis* by taking it now.

*This quiz is intended to diagnose possible cases of data silos within your organization. If you believe that you or someone you know is suffering from information or workflow silos, please contact us to learn how AgentSync can help.

What are silos?

Like the glorious grain silos beautifully dotting the American agricultural landscape, silos in your business are great ways of keeping information and processes locked away and free of contaminants. Unfortunately, this also means the people who need to access that information or processes most likely can’t. Unlike grains and other commodities, institutional knowledge needs the ability to move freely around your organization. Thus, as much as we love farmers, we firmly believe silos have no business in your business.

Information silos

Information silos occur in your business when information travels vertically but not horizontally. For example, the head of your legal department communicates an update to the compliance team members beneath them in the org chart, who then communicate the information to the administrative employees under them. But no one mentions anything to the head of operations, so the information never makes it to the staff in that department. This can lead to confuse and conflict between departments as each are working with the information they have, but not the same (accurate) information.

Workflow silos

In addition to information silos, there are workflow silos. This happens when different parts of a larger organization follow different processes and workflows. If every department is a gear in a large machine but each gear is turning in its own unique direction, the machine as a whole won’t function.

Internal silos

The information and workflow silos that are built between departments within an organization are what we commonly think of. It’s easy to imagine how the sales team and HR department may have entirely different ways of doing things and places to look for information. Most of us have worked in a company that suffered from internal silos at least a little bit.

External silos

Perhaps just as common, but less frequently acknowledged, are the information and workflow silos that exist between different organizations that should be, and need to be, working in lockstep with one another. In the insurance industry, an insurance carrier, an insurance agency, and regulatory bodies would benefit from having a transparent, real-time, multi-directional flow of information. If they did, everyone within each organization would be able to access the same knowledge as the others and everyone would be on the same page, effortlessly. We probably don’t have to tell you this isn’t usually the case.

Workflow silos can also exist between different organizations just like they can internally. Most of us know the pain of two processes conflicting between organizations, leaving both sides frustrated at how hard it is to do business with the other.

What causes silos?

A lot’s been written about the causes and negative impacts silos have on businesses. From revenue, to efficiency, to employee morale, the consensus is that nothing good comes from a siloed organization.

In many cases, experts attribute the formation of silos to bad leadership and antagonistically competitive internal teams. We also know, however, that silos can exist not from malicious intent but simply from a lack of resources spent on preventing them. In an industry as old as insurance, silos can easily form when a company doesn’t adopt new practices specifically designed to centrally house information and allow its sharing across the company.

How can you tear down information and workflow silos?

That’s the million dollar question, isn’t it? Breaking down the data, workflow, and communication silos in your insurance business may feel daunting, but it doesn’t have to be. A few expert tips include:

  • Encouraging horizontal collaboration: Create opportunities for members of teams to work with each other, not just with those in their vertical chain of command.
  • Create a common goal: When every person on the team shares a vision and is dedicated toward working together to achieve it, it becomes less important to hoard information and more important to share it.
  • Implement technology to do the heavy lifting: More systems isn’t always the answer. But having the right systems in place can be. When your organization invests in a solution that gives each employee the appropriate level of insight to the same single source of truth, it’s hard for information silos to thrive.

Of course, this is all easier said than done. But demolishing your information silos doesn’t have to be an impossible task. With the right tools, it can be easier than you think!

Could your organization use a healthy dose of silo-breaking technology? Take our quiz to find out.

How can you tear down information and workflow silos?

If you’re looking for a better way to manage producer onboarding, ongoing compliance management, contracting, carrier appointments, and many other pieces of your business in a way that provides transparency across the organization and makes your internal and external stakeholders happy, see how AgentSync can help.

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