By Paul Lindsell
The biggest challenge most large organisations face in the age of Big Data is the fact that their content is fragmented and uncategorised rather than the sheer volume of information being generated, a new study from MindMetre Research reveals. The report shows that 71% of respondents say the content they need is scattered among different business units and stored in different formats, while 56% say it is not labelled with the metadata necessary to make it easy and quick to find.
The research, based on a survey of senior information professionals from more than 300 major organisations across the US and Europe, also revealed:
• 85% of large organisations are creating more unstructured data than ever;
• 89% believe insights from this information are essential to gaining a competitive advantage;
• only 34% of organisations identify sheer volume of information as a major obstacle to utilising this unstructured data.
MindMetre conducted the research in order to gauge corporate views of the relationship between Big Data, ‘Big Content’ and ‘Content Intelligence’. Big Content is the unstructured element of Big Data, while Content Intelligence involves an organisation’s ability to leverage unstructured information such as customer correspondence, market intelligence, internal communications, product information, R&D reports, field and case notes, service information, customer/citizen feedback, and many other categories.
MindMetre also finds in the report, Forget information overload… the real challenge is content intelligence: if organisations are to fully capitalise on the unstructured information they hold, they need to invest in systems that enable them to automatically and accurately categorize and meta-tag this data. And given the fragmentation and dispersal found in the organisations surveyed, these systems need to be able to classify and label data in its original locations, as moving and reformatting huge volumes of disparate information could be extremely costly – if even possible.
Unstructured data can contain enormous amounts of critical information, including commercially valuable insights. Unfortunately, the amount of time being wasted looking for the relevant information amongst all of this unstructured content is a real concern for many organisations.
Many businesses believe that quickly and accurately accessing unstructured information is simply too difficult and expensive. This is not true; a number of automatic categorisation solutions are available on the market. The research clearly indicated that, for organisations hoping to boost competitiveness and profitability by making better use of the knowledge and insights they already hold, it is vital to invest in systems that allow them to automatically organise, mark-up and ultimately find unstructured data, so that its value can be harnessed.
About the author
Paul Lindsell is managing director of MindMetre.