Organizations are generating and capturing more data in more ways than ever before. With the increasing pace of business and the flood of available data, companies struggle to derive insights and produce value. Forward-thinking organizations are using data in broader ways and placing it at the heart of the business decision making process. By doing so, businesses are becoming more customer focused and cultivating data-driven culture that will emphasize the value of unstructured repositories to convert tactical data into strategic information.

Unstructured data represents both a liability and opportunity for enterprises and IT leaders; most organizations are forced to face this phenomenon head on. The value of data is ultimately defined by ways you can use it. Historically, unstructured data was created and collected for its primary use at the point of generation, and stored for the fear of losing something intangible and irreplaceable, despite the fact that there was no way to quantify what that data was worth. Now, unstructured data is everywhere and growing quickly, internally and externally through a variety of sources, including email, SharePoint, digital imaging, spreadsheets, and social streams.

While overwhelming, this historical data is now being stored for its secondary uses, such as compliance or information discovery, a valuable repository of information that can be leveraged to address complex situations.

Organizations that are data rich but insight poor struggle to transform available data into actionable business decisions. Managing this data to benefit from its secondary value is crucial for staying competitive, creating opportunity and building a customer focused approach.

Getting Ahead of the Data Curve

Proactive organizations take steps to address unstructured data growth before it escalates. The sheer volume of unmanaged unstructured data can become extremely costly in terms of storage. Additionally, data that is not properly managed quickly turns into a liability if information cannot be located in the event of an e-Discovery request for legal matter. To add to the complexity, customer expectations have changed as a byproduct of new technology advancements and the emergence of mobile, BYOD and the commercialization of IT resulting in additional data security and privacy concerns.

These changing customer expectations around data and how organizations use it also lead to a further secondary use for large repositories of unstructured data; to enhance and deepen relationships with customers. Innovative companies are adopting a data-driven culture that relies heavily on the advent of technology to become customer-focused, capturing and better understanding customers’ needs and preferences. By doing so, these organizations leverage unstructured data to deliver new and innovative products and services, better target existing offerings, increase customer satisfaction, promote loyalty and, above all, detect new and emerging opportunities, in turn, solidifying their stake as market leaders.

The foreseeable future involves increasing volume and detail of unstructured data captured by organizations. Companies are eager to take advantage of these vast amounts of new data pouring into their organization to support their data-driven decision making.

Big Data Analytics

In order to actually gain value organizations must leverage big data analytics, which convey the ability to gain deep customer insights from these data flows which in return lead to more educated, impactful data-backed business decisions. By placing a data at the heart of customer relationships, organizations are able to gain significant benefits in terms of repeat business and additional return from increased long term customer value.

Data-driven companies range from small healthcare firms to large financial institutions. The impetus for one multinational bank in particular to adopt a data-driven culture was their desire to become more customer focused.

Like all financial institutions, this bank was looking to address the challenges and seize the opportunities of accelerated unstructured data growth. This multi-dimensional effort required the bank to build a culture in which data is core to the organization decision making. They achieved this by adopting a data centric approach to data management, leveraging a globally distributed data lake to expose and analyze repositories of customer data in order to gain significant insights into their customer base and deliver on customer-oriented product and service innovation, such as improved mobile banking services and more applicable loan offerings. By becoming data-driven, this organization is now more agile, quicker to respond to market opportunities, achieves faster time to market for new innovations, and meets customer needs more thoroughly.

Unstructured data is growing at accelerating rates. Fortunately, our ability to manage it efficiently through the use of innovative technology is also growing. Adopting a data-driven culture will become key for building competitive advantage conferred through customer relationships and laying the groundwork for new waves of growth, innovation and productivity.

Gaining An Edge

Data centric organizations collect more accurate and detailed information which exposes any inconsistency, boosts performance and unlocks significant value. These businesses target customers more accurately and provide products and services that are tailored to their preferences.

In sum, data-driven organizations are able to innovative quicker and can anticipate the needs of their customers, continuously improving and developing the next generation of products and services to better suit their needs and driving significant incremental revenue over their competitors.

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