Remember when you used to get canceled checks in a in a thick envelope from the bank along with your monthly statement? That doesn't happen much anymore. Today, many banks scan those canceled checks and make them available for online viewing. Additionally, they're considered by federal banking laws to be "original documents," meaning they are "original forms with signatures" and can be used for legal purposes such as transaction and/or payment disputes with merchants.I'm not trying to give you a banking lesson; my purpose is to provide a picture of what is happening with IT on a global basis. During the last five years, the percentage of unstructured content (such as the scanned images of the canceled checks) in enterprise information systems has been rising like a rocket.
In fact, in many companies unstructured content is growing faster than traditional data-based content. Examples of this unstructured enterprise content (EC) include Web content, scanned document images, audio and video files, broadcasts and diagrams - just to name a few. It's unstructured in that it doesn't reside in rows, columns and fields somewhere in a corporate database.
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