WHAT is Unstructured Data?

Businesses Produce Data

Every business produces and consumes data in the course of daily activities. It is the fuel that powers every business engine. For simplicity, data can be viewed as either structured data or unstructured data. While there are many variations and themes on this topic, for the operational executive, this is the gist of it.

Some of it is Structured

Structured data is information that has been coded, grouped (like names and addresses) or classified (like causes and classes) based on common practice. Most structured data gets it’s structure from people assigning codes to it based on their interpretation. This is the data that has been available to support transactions, decisions and reports. It is usually about 20% of a company’s data.

Most of it is Unstructured

Unstructured data is basically everything other than structured data. It is narrative, textual and free form data. Until the past few years, the only thing people could do was read and/or search this data. Recently, companies realized they could analyze it and they discovered many valuable, critical insights about their business, their employees, their market and their customers. See more information on WHO has it.

Sources of Unstructured Data

Unstructured data is produced by people writing answers to questions, explaining business operations and strategies, describing processes and accounting for situations, incidents, and events that create risks, gains and/or losses. There are many nuances and complications that interfere with people’s ability to understand unstructured data. See further discussion of this topic on our blog More info …

The Amount Keeps Growing

Every day professionals add more unstructured data to business files. The knowledge and insights accumulate day by day with each keystroke. The speed at which the amount of unstructured data grows is far greater than the speed at which people can build tools to use it. Unstructured data analysis is a far more effective and efficient than building specific tools that quickly become outdated. Regular, ongoing analyses of unstructured data can provide a continual stream of critical insights.

Managing Unstructured Data
(IT Function / Others Do This)

It is easy to get confused talking about data – especially unstructured data. Unstructured data arrives in many different forms and can be stored as a chunk of data in a database or as a document file. Managing unstructured data is an IT responsibility and a challenge for the IT professionals that handle it.

Analyzing Unstructured Data
(Executives / ctFLY Does This)

Analyzing the unstructured data content is an operational executive responsibility. Just as operational executives are responsible for ensuring that the right financial (structured data) analyses happen, they also need to ensure that the necessary unstructured data analyses are happening. Read more on Why Analyze Unstructured Data

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