Did Everyone Forget About Unstructured Data?

Out of all the types of data out there, it seems like most have ignored what is perhaps the most valuable: unstructured data.

The reason is simple – unstructured data is messy and wickedly difficult to search in meaningful ways.

Perhaps the easiest way to think of structured vs. unstructured data is your typical email. The header with date, to, from and subject line is all structured data. The date field, will always be the date field. We can count on that.

However, what you write in the body of the email is whatever you decide to say. Could be anything, right? Text becomes words, words sentences… then perhaps paragraphs. Could be numbers…calculations. You name it. We know for sure from a data science perspective, that we can’t be sure what to expect.

Why Should You Care?
You think structured data is great and can’t imagine finding information from both unstructured data and structured data. Unstructured data is growing at a rapid pace, and many ‘solutions’ fail to take into account searching through the massive amounts of unstructured data in an organization.

Having a ‘Store Everything’ Approach
Some organizations go with a ‘store everything’ approach, yet their solutions for search only primarily address structured data. Leaving unstructured and potentially semi-structured data untouched.

Why is This a Big Deal?
Because 95% of data is unstructured, only 5% of data is structured! In the business world, this goes down to an average of 80% of data being unstructured and 20% of data structured. With most solutions only addressing structured (and maybe semi-structured data) this equates to the average organization missing out on using anywhere between 80 to 95 percent of their data on average.

When speaking with organizations, many will state that their current top challenge is the explosion of unstructured data. The ‘store everything’ mentality now challenges organizational leaders to find a solution that can address all data challenges rather than just the 5 to 20 percent of structured data that they can easily access.

The organization is now exposed to risk because it can’t fully utilize all of the data accumulated. Unstructured data challenges pose risks to just about any organization, at SavantX we realize that organizations need full access to all three types of data (structured, unstructured and semi-structured) and that’s why our technology was built around the most difficult data challenge: unstructured data.

Demystifying Unstructured Data

Unstructured data can come from a variety of sources, ranging from email messages, sensory data, call center data, Word documents, PowerPoint slides, image, audio and video files, and the list goes on. The power to harness unstructured data has been challenging as the many tools available on the market today are built around complex semantic analysis of unstructured data. This approach is expensive and requires a herculean effort to customize, operationalize and maintain for an organization.

Technology within the enterprise has seen an increasingly higher demand for organizations to be on the forefront of innovation especially in addressing data challenges. Unfortunately, many organizations pay only lip service to unstructured data – never really addressing the problems of search and discovery in this domain. By combining unstructured data with structured data as well as semi-structured data, an organization can integrate all data sources and quickly find the information they seek – efficiently and quickly.

But it’s not just that simple. Many tools may tout that they can integrate unstructured data with structured data, but the hard reality is that fragmentation and inconsistency of data may be realized. SavantX can seamlessly integrate all three types of data and provide for an easy to operate and user customizable interface to find necessary information.

Data hoarding happens in nearly every organization, but it’s what the organization does with the data that makes the difference. Regulatory requirements don’t go away. By utilizing a solution that additionally addresses unstructured data (in addition to structured and semi-structured), an organization can further mitigate risks and identify opportunities through security, safety, compliance, risk, legal and other information.

Data problems haven’t gone away, and organizations need to realize that. An estimated 80 percent of enterprise data is unstructured according to one Gartner estimate. The question really becomes how can data help your organization? And having easy access to unstructured data can significantly help. Differentiate your organization from the rest by leveraging the opportunities that utilizing unstructured data presents.