WHEN to Analyze Unstructured Data?

As Frequently as Quantitative Analyses

Just as with numerical analyses, there are many different approaches to the analysis of unstructured data. The analysis of unstructured data should be undertaken with the same frequency as the analysis of numbers. Doing so will provide comprehensive answers and greater insight into WHY things are or are not happening.

When You Need Answers

For example, an insurance company does a full reserve analysis on a semi annual basis … but they do an analysis of paid losses on a monthly basis and they monitor the number of policy applications on a weekly basis. Unstructured data provides answers to critical business questions that need to be answered on a regular basis.

At Decision-making Time

Analyzing unstructured data with the same frequency as numerical analyses will provide better measures of the business’ health, quicker identification of problems and optimal solutions, and better recognition of opportunities and the strategies to act upon them.

Varying Approaches

In assessing WHEN to analyze unstructured data, you need to understand WHY an analysis is being performed (see WHY Analyze Unstructured Data) and the end objective.

Three Principles to Answering the WHEN Question

Amount of Unstructured Data

Determine the amount and type of unstructured data your department either produces or receives by considering the flow of data. See WHAT is Unstructured Data for a description of unstructured data. The greater the amount of unstructured data, the greater the frequency of the analysis.

Process & System Changes

Frequent process and system changes are indicative of the need for more and better information to make decisions. With these changes, data is continually recoded and refurbished. UDA essentially renders obsolete the process of coding (and/or recoding) data. See Rendering Obsolete the Process of Coding Data for more info.

Individual Transaction Indicators

The simplest principle is perhaps the best one. In the process of addressing issues, invariably people come across situations where their reaction is “if only I could find every situation in which this is happening, then I could …”. In those situations, UDA can be the perfect solution.

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