c07-glossary

What is Unstructured Data?

Unstructured data is non-transactional business data, the format of which cannot, or does not, easily conform to a relational database schema.  

What do I need to know about unstructured data?

Unstructured data includes many sources of business information that, until recently, were not mined for business intelligence. These include audio files, video files, emails, and Word documents, among others. In the world of big data, organizations are paying closer attention to the information hidden in their unstructured data and taking action to understand and utilize the contents of that data. 

How much business data is unstructured?

Today, many sources of information are text-based, with semantic context that is not easily processed by data management systems. The content of emails is unstructured, as is social media data, podcasts, security videos, PDF files, text messages, and sales presentations. By some estimates, 70 to 80 percent of all business data today is unstructured. 

Why collect unstructured data?

While the volume of all data is increasing rapidly, unstructured data is increasing the most. For example, social media data can be a huge source of insight into customer trends and satisfaction. Organizations that do not cultivate a competency in understanding their unstructured data will quickly find themselves at a competitive disadvantage. 

What are the benefits of managing unstructured data?

When a company has control of and visibility into its unstructured data it can:

  • Reduce risk with an expanded view into end-to-end enterprise information
  • Increase IT productivity and reduce costs
  • Improve business decision making

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