Today, teams with ambitious business goals are forced to compromise alignment in favor of speed. Leaders have no choice but to encourage software adoption at the team-level, knowing that fast is only possible when teams can manage their own workflows and make their own decisions.
Inevitably, this empowerment leads to silos and blindspots across the organization: teams make decisions according to the information they have in front of them, moving quickly but unaware of critical insights living in different places. Sure, your teams might be working at lightning speed, but the organization as a whole is pulled in a million different directions. This causes you to miss powerful opportunities to collaborate, and stymies each team’s ability to reach their full potential.
This is the crisis of fractured organizations.
The crisis of fractured organizations
On average, companies use 254 SaaS tools to make work happen. These tools free teams to move quickly, but they also trap information and create boundaries between teams—impeding visibility into work being done, stagnating data, and invariably leading to competing or duplicative work across the org.
The solution is not to default to the old way, imposing top-down, rigid IT platforms that don’t serve any function well—this leads to frustrated employees and unsatisfactory work. Instead, you must focus on breaking down these unintentional silos, while maintaining the level of flexibility and autonomy your teams now rightly expect.
What are the pains of fractured organizations?
The challenges facing fractured orgs are far-reaching. The frustrations go beyond siloed decision-making, jeopardizing your employee experience, your customer’s unified journey, and your work’s impact on the bottom line. Here are three common pain points fractured orgs struggle with.
Misalignment: Battling multiple sources of truth and without access to shared data, teams are unaware of work being done elsewhere in the organization. Misaligned teams struggle to be agile and achieve big goals together.
Because of this, customer experience suffers: product teams don't have access to feedback garnered from research teams, so updates fail to match customer expectations; marketing is unaware of changing product roadmaps, so launch dates are missed and new features go entirely unnoticed; sales teams have no visibility into upcoming marketing campaigns, so their conversations with prospects are off-message or out-of-date.
Operational Overhead: Employees spend their days in messaging platforms, emails, and spreadsheets. They’re wasting time wrangling disparate data and insights, and they’re struggling to move cross functional work forward without any connection between different teams’ workflows.
In a recent survey of more than 300 marketing leaders, we’ve found that organizational silos are correlated with duplicative work, competing priorities, more time spent in meetings, and more hours each day searching for information. These same pain points are echoed by all teams across the company.
Security and Business Risks: Tool proliferation leads to security risks, as vendors need to be regularly evaluated and managed. Further, teams are at risk of making mistakes or making the wrong decisions because they don’t have access to accurate data or visibility across teams.
How can a connected apps platform help align teams?
Whether it’s Equinox publishing content 400% faster, or LinkedIn streamlining reporting to take hours instead of days, we see incredible, previously-impossible results come to life when organizations use connected apps. By dismantling silos at the data layer with a connected apps platform, companies are able to unlock a new standard of strategy and decision making—uniting the fractured org, without breaking stride.
What is a connected apps platform?
A connected apps platform allows anyone to build their own business apps on top of shared data—all on a single platform. We define apps as technology that performs a specific function to automate or scale workflows. Teams can build apps to manage and track marketing campaigns, product roadmaps, content calendars, job applicants, and much more.
Because connected apps share the same data, they give teams real time visibility into critical workflows happening across the company. For example, when a launch timeline is updated in the product roadmap, this change is automatically reflected across all connected apps, allowing teams to adapt their workflows instantly without relying on emails, meetings, or docs.
Teams using the same data source move fast and move together.
What are the benefits of a connected apps platform?
A connected apps platform helps unleash the full potential of cross-functional teams.
- Faster business results: With access to cross-functional data, teams’ trust in the data (and in each other) deepens. They’re aligned from the outset, and they’re free to move quickly and make decisions, without second-guessing strategy or direction.
- Enhanced team efficiency and productivity: Employees no longer need to waste hours sifting through spreadsheets, searching emails, or bouncing between tools to get an accurate reading of the work underway or how they’re tracking toward goals.
- Mitigated business risk: It’s easier to avoid business-critical mistakes because your teams make decisions based on accurate data. Plus, you can securely manage apps at scale with a platform that offers enterprise-grade security and well-defined permission controls.
Introducing Airtable Connected Apps Platform
The Airtable Connected Apps Platform™ gives teams the ability to move quickly, without sacrificing connectedness. Teams are free to build and customize apps that power their unique workflows—whether it’s launching marketing campaigns, tracking vendors, or managing the product roadmap. These apps help bridge the chasms between departments and give teams the information they need to move in the same direction—even at the fastest pace.
How the Airtable Connected Apps Platform helps leading organizations like West Elm
When Gary Webb, Senior Studio Manager for West Elm, wanted to streamline the production of 1,000 product photographs each week, he was faced with a glaring problem: every single image had to move across seven different departments, each with their own workflow, before it could be approved.
Such disparate workflows meant that if Gary or someone on his team wanted to make changes to the shoot schedule or an image’s metadata, they would have to download a copy of the spreadsheet and email it out. Partners weren’t able to see those changes in real time, and information was getting lost with every handoff.
West Elm turned to the Airtable Connected Apps Platform™ to bring the teams together and create a single source of truth. Now, every photo is uploaded to an Airtable base and the metadata for each image (the SKU, dimensions, color, angles, and the photography shot list) is automatically pulled in from different records. All seven departments see the same information, updated in real time. This means external partners, the warehouse team, and the samples team know exactly what to expect and on what timeline; they don’t have to ask Gary or search through an email chain to find the latest update.
Collectively, this saves 85 hours each week and allows the teams to focus on the work that matters most: growing and shaping the West Elm brand.
“Now I can sleep at night. Trusting data is about knowing the information I'm looking at is up to date and it's consistent with what others are seeing. It takes the interpretation out of it,” Gary says.