Unlocking the Value of Unstructured Data

New Technology Can Make Your Organization More Efficient

Rick Sabarese

Mining insights from the endless stream of unstructured data your organization has access to – from email to blogs to social media – begins with a foundation for collecting, integrating, and organizing the data. Today’s enterprises have plenty of unstructured data floating around, but making sense of it is a major challenge. Organizations are accustomed to relying on data models to describe the structure of the data stored in enterprise databases. But traditional data models typically do not describe unstructured data, such as word processing documents, spreadsheets, websites, presentations, social media feeds, email messages, pictures, digital audio, and video.

Unstructured information often contains data such as numbers, dates, and metrics. This results in irregularities and ambiguities that make it difficult to understand using traditional programs, contrasting sharply with data stored in defined and labeled database fields. Unstructured data can be used to complement and augment structured data to enable unique management insights into customers, trends, and market drivers. It can also support increased enterprise productivity.

Employees spend much of their time creating spreadsheets, documents, presentations, and proposals, and organizations can waste a great deal of time looking for previously created unstructured data or recreating it if it can’t be located. Companies that can analyze and retrieve this unstructured data can significantly improve employee productivity.

The ability to capture raw data points from a diverse set of sources and transform that data into actionable intelligence is a capability that unlocks the value of unstructured data. For example, companies can track and monitor their web or social media activity to understand market perceptions of them and learn more about why customers like or dislike their products.

Analyzing social media content such as Twitter feeds, Facebook posts, and transcripts from customer support calls can enable valuable insights into how customers perceive the strengths and weaknesses of your products. But people aren’t the only sources of unstructured data. Servers and network equipment generate log files, and cameras and machine-based sensors also generate valuable information. The ability to impose structure on unstructured information opens up new horizons in business analysis.

The Connection Software Practice can provide you with qualified experts who can help you efficiently analyze unstructured data. Our team can help you discern the factors that should drive the architectural considerations that in turn should drive your analytics investments. Learn more about the Connection Software Practice and how our IT Services and Assessments connect people with technology that enhances growth, elevates productivity, and empowers innovation