The time to act is now. Unstructured data is growing, and this trend is not going away. With unstructured data counting for approximately 80% of the data that an organisation processes daily, its crucial now more than ever that you know how to manage it. 
So, what is unstructured data?
Unstructured data is any data that isn’t stored in a fixed record length format, which is known as transactional data. Examples of unstructured data include:
- A paper-based vendor invoice that comes into your accounting department;
- A product photo that gets associated with an order;
- A bar code that is assigned to an item in your warehouse;
- A doctor treating a patient needs more than a patient’s written records–she might also require x-rays, MRIs, and other types of imagery;
- A police officer wants to be able to call up a photo of a possible suspect, as well as the suspect’s driving record.
Why does unstructured data matter?
Because 80% of the data in companies is unstructured, organisations need to understand the types of unstructured data they are accumulating and the best ways to process and store this data for business advantages. Without data management strategies and guidance in these areas, companies run the risks of not capitalising on unstructured data, failing to keep up with competitors, or storing more unstructured data than they really need, thereby running up data storage costs.
How can companies use unstructured data?
Internally, the vast majority of corporate departments use unstructured data in some form. From HR with scanned documents to Marketing with social media engagements. Externally, unstructured data is used to monitor and report on assets, exchange videos and images etc with suppliers and business partners. All of these unstructured data users need access, policies, and guidelines for using the data.
How unstructured data speeds up decision making?
Every business has unstructured data, the key is knowing how to use and process it to the smartest business advantage, and which unstructured data to store and what to discard. It is very expensive to store and maintain unstructured data because of its size, the processing power it requires, and the fact that not all of it is useful.
The next stage is figuring out how to get at the data, so that all of the information it contains is fully used. The preparation and processing of unstructured data, and the ability to append it to systems, or to store it for future use, is available in an on-premise system and in the cloud. Data analysts must manipulate the unstructured data, so it can work hand-in-hand with other types of unstructured and structured data.
The ways that companies use unstructured data varies widely. Let’s find out how Exonar could help.
How Exonar Reveal can help with your unstructured data
Every organisation is now a data organisation. The volumes of data every organisation has is increasing hugely every year. Exonar Reveal allows organisations to manage their data estate (structured and unstructured data) in one single view, providing true visibility across your data.
Do you know what’s hidden in your unstructured data? Let us tell you with a Free Test Drive of Exonar Reveal.
Our Test Drive is a 2 week free trial where we will index up to 1TB (or approx. 2 million items) of your organisation’s unstructured data so you can uncover areas of risk or business critical information. Find out more here.
 Unstructured data: A cheat sheet | TechRepublic