How to Un-Silo Your Data
By nature, mortgage companies input data into numerous systems and servers every day. You may already realize that the data collected in your software and spreadsheets has massive untapped potential, but you may be unsure about how to access it and use it. The first step in that process is to round up all of the disparate, siloed data into one centralized location.
At Saxony Partners, our financial services consultants help clients structure, manage, and use data to effectively drive decision-making. Here is our beginners guide to how to un-silo your data and help your company reach its full potential faster.
The Basic Steps to Un-Silo Data
1) Data Extraction: Your data is extracted from its original disparate sources.
First, you must safely extract it from all of the systems your company uses. For mortgage companies, this typically means your loan origination system (LOS), lead systems, point of sale systems, accounting systems, and various spreadsheets from throughout the organization.
This data can be extracted all at once as a massive project, or from one source at a time to maximize speed to value. More on this later.
2) Data Storage: Your unstructured data is stored temporarily in a data lake.
Once your data has been extracted, it’s not quite ready for something like an enterprise data warehouse yet. Extracted data is often inconsistent and unstructured, so it needs to be formatted. Your data will be temporarily stored in a space called a “data lake” while this happens.
3) Data Transformation: All of your data is formatted consistently and correctly.
This is the step where your unstructured and mismatched data is formatted to become more easily accessible. Once it has been formatted, it will be much easier to analyze it and report from it.
4) Enterprise Data Warehouse: Your data is transferred into a single source of truth.
Last but not least, un-siloed data will now reside in one single source of truth: your enterprise data warehouse. From here you can leverage your data across different business units with business intelligence tools, which provide key insight and information to drive smart decisions. The possibilities for data strategy and analytics are endless.
How to Un-Silo Data Efficiently
While the basic steps to un-silo data are consistent across different projects, the methods can vary. Some companies will encourage you to un-silo all of your data at once and move it straight into your enterprise data warehouse. But this approach poses problems for you as a client.
“With so many different data sources, it can easily become this behemoth project if you try to un-silo everything at once,” said Angel Armendariz, an executive with Saxony Partners’ Financial Services practice. “It involves tons of consultants and a larger price tag, and it takes much longer to see any value. The problem is that when your company has to wait until the end of a huge project for access to all of the data you need, you can’t use it in the interim.”
At Saxony, we do things differently. We work to un-silo one source of data at a time to make the project more cost-effective and efficient for our clients.
“Our approach is value-based,” Armendariz said. “We look for the areas where we can make the biggest impact and start there. We then move through one source at a time until all of the data is un-siloed. In the meantime, you can access the high-impact data that lives in a single source of truth and use it for analytics, reporting, and process improvements immediately.”
While facing the daunting task of siloed data might seem overwhelming, the benefits of using your data from one centralized, single source of truth far outweigh the costs.
“Un-siloed data helps your enterprise to be more efficient, more profitable, and more compliant,” Armendariz said. “You’ll have greater transparency and visibility into the data, which allows you to take action.”