Solving the challenges of unstructured data

One of the biggest difficulties that many companies are experiencing in the current environment is how to get the most out of the increasing amounts of unstructured data they are collecting.

Figures from Merrill Lynch estimate that as much as 80 per cent of potentially useful business intelligence information comes in this format – which can include things such as social media posts, images and videos – but most organizations are ignoring this and simply storing away this data into repositories in the hope that it will prove useful further down the line.

However, it was noted by BDaily that this data typically ends up uncategorized and not organized in any useful way. Ad-hoc decisions on how and where to store it means this information ends up spread out across a business with no real way to gather it into one place.

"This can potentially leave data in a state of chaos. This can end up costing businesses vast sums of money to analyze information on a purely reactive basis," the publication said. 

Reactive discovery of relevant information from unstructured data was described as "like finding a needle in a haystack" by BDaily, as businesses are usually trying to locate specific information, such as in response to a regulatory enquiry that requires a firm to provide evidence.

However, a much better approach to dealing with unstructured data is to use tools such as predictive analytics to be more proactive in how a business manages and analyzes information.

By using big data analytics to study this information in context, companies can derive valuable results and insights.

BDaily observed: "The key to this is being able to connect to all those disparate information repositories, analyze the information and manage it all from a single platform – without having to move all the information into a single repository."

Finding good solutions to deal with this will be essential, as it was recently observed by KPMG that the majority of firms are not asking the right questions to ensure they get the most out of their digital assets.