‘Results of a Forrester study identified cooperation across an organisation as the top obstacle to improving customer experience,’ according to Forbes.

For small and medium enterprises (SMEs), creating the right organisational structure to ensure cross-departmental collaboration is essential. Departmental silos are driving a disconnect, preventing organisations from delivering an outstanding customer experience across the board.  

We take a look at how you can break through silos to create business synergy and enhance your customer experience by leveraging your greatest asset – your data. 

‘Employees who can reach outside their silos to find colleagues with complementary expertise learn more, sell more and gain skills faster.’ – Harvard Business Review 

Business Synergy: The What and the Why for SMEs 

Synergy is the concept that ‘the whole is more than the sum of its parts.’ And in organisational terms, this means that a group that works together is stronger than its individual components. While a sales team may have expertise in identifying customer needs, and a marketing team may create innovative services, neither team alone has a 360° view of the business or the customer. If these teams work together, they can improve the customer experience by identifying opportunities for new products, or by suggesting more effective ways to market.  

Large companies sometimes look to create business synergy through mergers and acquisitions, but synergy can also be created internally, through cross-departmental collaboration. 

Within an organisational structure, it’s common for the workforce to be grouped by function and departments to be managed independently. However, if the knowledge and skills of your staff remain locked into these silos, there’s a risk of important feedback and insights being lost. Customer expectations of digital services are increasing, and failure to respond to this demand means losing out to the competition.  

Organisational Structure: Why Cross-Departmental Collaboration Matters 

Today’s companies are increasingly aware of the need to break down silos and work on shared goals. Although a startup or small business may have only the essential departments – sales and marketing, operations, and administration – it’s important to create an appropriate organisational structure that encourages interdepartmental collaboration. 

‘Connecting small business departments can make or break a company.’ – Salesforce 

Cross-departmental collaboration is vital, not just to share and integrate data, but also to enable support across functions and ensure that all staff understand the impact of their roles on the company as a whole. It can also help to fill skills gaps: for instance, someone with sales experience may be able to share buyer feedback with the marketing team to help with future messaging.  

Working Together: New Roles, New Structures for the ‘New Normal’ 

As a small business evolves, roles evolve as well – and uniting functions, departments, and processes is a key concern for many SMEs looking to drive growth. Organisational structures have to prioritise agility as well as expertise, especially in the light of the new business culture emerging as a result of the global pandemic.  

According to Gartner, ‘The total number of skills required for a single job is increasing at 6.3% annually, and new skills are replacing old ones.’  

Advances in technology have led to the creation of new roles, as well as changes to the responsibilities of existing ones. Staff now need to perform effectively across functions – which means setting up regular meetings between teams, encouraging them to share feedback on any pain points or challenges, and upskilling staff through the use of on-demand training platforms. 

Creating Synergy: Shared Goals, Shared Data 

While it’s vital to use key performance indicators (KPIs) for individual functions such as sales and service, setting business-wide benchmarks enables SMEs to see the bigger picture. Digital tools and shared dashboards can help connect teams, allowing them to see a holistic view of projects and data and collaborate remotely. 

Having agile, cross-skilled teams can enable better problem-solving. 

Although technology can be of great assistance in breaking down silos, it’s equally important to break down ‘people’ silos. Common goals and a shared vision foster a sense of inclusivity, help staff feel more valued, and contribute to a company-wide culture of productivity – which, in turn, creates an enhanced customer experience. For some top tips on how to create business synergy, have a look at this blog post from our partners at Salesforce.

With over 15 years of consulting experience, we at redk have the expertise and digital capabilities to design and implement the solutions which will offer the best value for you and your clients. Talk to us to find out how we can help you achieve your organisational goals and exceed your customers’ expectations.