“Who moved that information?”
“Where did you find that number?”
“Which version did we work on last?!”
These can be universal phrases in an organization that has information silos. Inventory, bookings, customer relationships, mapping and marketing – perhaps they’re all managed in different systems right now. Some records may even be paper-based.
When data is stored in different systems, then important data can go missing or be duplicated, work can be doubled up unnecessarily – and version confusion abounds! These are obviously daily irritations, but they can also have profound wider impacts for the organization too.
What’s so bad about information silos?
- They can lower productivity: All that time your team spends finding details, files, customer information and stock inventory in different systems? That’s time that you could be gaining back.
- They can lead to misaligned goals: Goals within sales, marketing, administration, accounting and other departments can often be disparate and in some cases, even conflicting.
- They could harm your relationships with customers and suppliers: If someone makes a call to your office, are they likely to get differing answers or service depending on who they speak with?
- They can sow internal frustration: Between redundant work, miscommunications and the odd post-it note that falls behind a desk, teams can quickly get frustrated and disengaged if they feel the whole team isn’t working as one.
How are information silos a problem within the death care industry?
There are a number of ways that information silos can cause problems in this specific industry:
- Cemeteries and crematoria may have different platforms or subsystems to maintain their cemetery location records, cases and incidents, events, risk registers and bookings. There may be various historical paper records or spreadsheets to check, depending on the history of the site. As such, answering even a simple question over the phone might require cross-checking multiple data sets in different ways, and compliance can be difficult. Missing or incorrect information can also lead to critical mistakes such as getting a grave size or burial time wrong, or miscalculating body weight and cremation times.
- Funeral homes may have booking, account management, marketing and/or accounting teams that are all working with separate goals and separate data – leading to wasted time and resources. It may be difficult to plan for future needs, to manage customer relationships, and to communicate any last-minute or urgent changes across the whole organization.
Although information silos can be an issue in organizations of all sizes, it can be a particular problem for larger funeral homes or cemeteries as their operating systems and departments can be more complex.
What’s the alternative?
Ideally, the solution is one comprehensive software system that allows for collaboration across the organization. By breaking down the barriers between data sets and having one single source of truth, you can use your information more productively. The system will work like a well-oiled machine, rather than a jumble of parts that move independently of one another. You’ll have a better connected, more communicative and more focused organization.
The benefits within the death care industry can include:
- Real-time communication between staff
- More consistent and higher quality customer service
- More robust relationships with suppliers and industry partners
- Clearly defined goals that everyone can engage with
- Work that’s done right the first time around
- A more relaxed and connected workplace.
So where do you begin in a practical sense, when trying to disassemble those information silos and create a united system?
How funeral directors, cemeteries and crematoria can remove information silos
First up, there’s an incredibly diverse range of organization sizes, structures and ownership models within the death care industry. The compliance needs and data points of a small community-managed cemetery may be very different to a large memorial cemetery, and different again to those in another state. A funeral home in Wisconsin may have a cemetery on premise, whereas in New York or New Jersey this is not permitted.
However, in a general sense there are some common-sense changes you can make to begin breaking those information silos down.
Find the right software
The first and key step to removing information silos for your organization is to find and implement the right digital cemetery software or funeral director management software. A modern solution like byondpro is comprehensive, creating a single source of truth for your staff and/or departments so they can speak to each other easily. Sales, bookings, customer relationship management, mapping, marketing and reports information can all be accessed with one system, and data all links up in an intuitive way. As an example, the system allows a funeral home to manage and track the entire customer journey, from initial enquiry through to bookings, to after service care and communication.
Improve access to data
Some users such as funeral officiants and cemetery grounds staff can sometimes feel separate to the main office, relying on phone calls for any service updates or changes. But because a modern solution like byondpro is cloud-based (virtually accessible through a login), users can access the central system from their own internet-connected device. For example, cemetery grounds staff will be able to use their own phone or tablet to double-check grave dimensions in real time. Sales associates can access a mobile map with real-time inventory, so they can’t double-sell inventory by mistake.
It will also be easy to provide up-to-date maps of your grounds and deceased search records to cemetery visitors, via your website or using onsite kiosks.
Integrate systems as needed
Every organization’s needs are unique, and integration can help to provide the functionality your team needs. Aim to begin with an all-inclusive system such as byondpro, and consider additional modules or integration with existing third party systems as required. One example is that of accounting; you might choose to use the existing financial functions within byondpro, or integrate your existing financial solution into the system.
Enter data just once
Data entry is prone to human error, and if there are multiple databases to update it’s easy to forget one leading to inconsistencies in information. As an example, updating a customer’s new email address in a CRM platform, booking system and accounting system could be quite a process. With a modern platform like byondpro, the same information is entered just once and updated immediately across all databases.
Bring records from paper to the screen
Paper records and maps are a common resource within the death care industry, but now’s the chance to consolidate all of those details into one system. This can be particularly useful for cemeteries and crematoria. Historic or small cemeteries can use byondpro to virtually map their memorial locations and securely manage documents for posterity and compliance. Meanwhile, larger cemeteries can use byondpro to build up comprehensive GPS-enabled maps complete with inventory, services, points of interest, buildings, electrical and plumbing diagrams, flora and more.
Make the most of security permissions
You might be wondering if ‘silo-less’ software means that everyone has equal access to all information, and how you can limit access to sensitive, confidential or irrelevant information. The solution is to set security permissions for different users or departments, to make sure information is appropriate to each person who logs into the system.
Get your team on board
This step is key with any new technological implementation. Once staff know how to use the system and understand its potential, you’ll find that communication is faster, more accurate and more effective. We work hard to make byondpro very intuitive and easy to learn, but we’re also on hand to answer any questions as your new system is implemented.
Connect with other providers 24/7
One last thing worth mentioning is byondcloud. This industry-first solution takes collaboration to an entirely new level, allowing providers in the death care industry such as stone masons, florists and funeral providers to quote, communicate and book services around the clock with easy data sharing. You can use this marketplace by itself, or fully integrate it with your management software.
If you’re ready to break down the barriers between your systems and get more from your information, then byondpro funeral home and cemetery management software is an ideal place to start. If you’re simply curious about how a complete solution could work for your needs, then we’d be happy to provide a local and obligation-free personalized demo.