‘Unstructured data’ is a generic term used to indicate all data that does not reside in relational databases. It accounts for all information that is not organised or structured. Examples of such information are social media conversations, electronic health records, documents, files, images, videos, audios, sales and marketing collaterals, emails, and even log files generated by computers.

It is quite alarming that unstructured data accounts for more than 80% of your stored data and more of it are being generated every minute from social media tools. Studies reveal that photos and videos posted on Instagram cross a staggering 95 million every day. All this unstructured data could be very important for an organisation if it can be deciphered to gain useful insights. A lot of time and effort is wasted in recreating and reproducing this information if it is not recorded and stored properly.

Insights gained out of this unstructured data could largely impact a company’s future decisions, goals, and visions. It is a quite known fact that it is difficult to tackle this problem of unstructured data accumulating and growing exponentially. So, what is the solution?

It is important to analyse this data and derive useful insights from it to support your business decisions. Analysing content, such as tweets, Facebook posts, and transcripts from call recordings could reveal social trends, and give information about how customers perceive your products and services. This can help organisations take corrective steps to analyse social behaviour and improve customer satisfaction. Proactively understanding your customer’s viewpoint can help boost sales and reduce customer churn.

It is important to blend structured and unstructured data for best results. For example, whenever a salesperson plans to contact his customers for renewing a sales contract or for an upsell opportunity, she requires the customer’s personal information, which is structured data, and the customer’s past experience of the product that is stored in a call recording or an email, which is unstructured data.

Experts feel that deriving insights out of unstructured data are more of a business challenge than something to do with using the latest technology. There is a range of technologies already available to mine this data. Some of the simple and common techniques include manually tagging the metadata for further text mining and analysis, while other techniques, natural language processing (NLP), data mining, web mining, document classification, and text analytics aid in interpreting this information so that powerful algorithms can be applied to these large volumes of data. With the growing popularity of technologies such as Hadoop, the focus is shifting towards exploring this chaotic realm of unstructured data to derive a structure and usefulness.

Organisations also need to be mindful of the costs associated with storing and mining unstructured data. So, it is important to know your business objectives and select the right strategy and tools to achieve your goals, rather than simply going after technology.

The market offers a range of social media management tools, such as HubSpot, Google Analytics, HootSuite, and so on, that allow organisations to manage and monitor their social media engagement with a definite ROI.

Mining unstructured data can benefit organisations in the following ways:

  • Take Risks – Carry out the risk-analysis based on text mining that gives organisations access to the right information at the right time, enabling them to improve their ability to manage risks.
  • Prevent Frauds – Mitigate and handle cyber-crimes and frauds more effectively.
  • Improve Customer Service – By analysing customer sentiments, organisations can listen to their customers, instead of relying on merely on sales performance data. They can make changes to their services or products to improve customer experience. Text analytics software is used quite often today to improve the quality, effectiveness, and speed of resolving customer issues and queries.
  • Innovation – By analysing the unstructured data, organisations can realise gaps in the industry which they can bridge by innovating and coming up with new features and products that can impact society in a positive way.

In conclusion, by mining unstructured data for actionable insights, organisations will be able to have a much more fulfilling experience in providing better products, services, and customer experience, aligning with their business goals.

So, is there business value in unstructured data? With a sound strategy and the right tools, the answer is a ‘YES’.

At Inteliment, we have developed Texonomix, a Text Analytics & Mining Engine for extracting meaning and insight from textual and unstructured data. Texonomix helps in presenting these insights through intuitive and interactive visualisations which help organisations discover hidden patterns.

To know more about Texinomix, visit https://www.inteliment.com/