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Leveraging Unstructured Data

by Steve BogdonThursday, September 17, 2009

In November, Dashboard Insight will focus on "leveraging unstructured data" and such a broad topic is bound to bring in a variety of opinions and perspectives.  We look forward to seeing what comes in!

"Search" seems to be the most commonly used application in terms of leveraging unstructured data within BI these days, but then there are also ways of structuring unstructured data within data warehouses - plus there's the issue of how all this fits into analytics.  And some hot topics currently surrounding unstructured data include social networking analysis (web analytics) and sentiment analysis – basically taking web content or call center logs and developing metrics surrounding the data collected. 

With blogs, email, SMS, etc., how much of this "noisy text" is actually useful?  What is being done to expand BI capabilities in this area?  Where's it all going?   Learn how you can make use of unstructured data to make better business decisions, as we explore this topic in greater detail in November.

As always, we welcome your contribution to this topic.  We invite you to submit content (an article, white paper or perhaps take part in an interview) to help share your knowledge of leveraging unstructured datal.


Unstructured Data 101

Due to the breadth of unstructured data solutions, whether text or search based, organizations are hard pressed to identify which solutions can offer them the right functionality to help them address their business information pains. However, with a general understanding of the options available, organizations can develop solutions tied to ROI and can increase their strategic initiatives within the organization.

by: Lyndsay Wise, Wise Analytics

Marketing Analytics and the Use of Unstructured Data to Improve Performance

Sales and marketing efforts are the backbone of an organization. To drive sales, marketing initiatives are executed, and to plan marketing campaigns, sales are analyzed. The connection of both requires the proper management of information, the analysis of that information and the execution of marketing campaigns based on the results. Although organizations spend a lot of time and money within these areas, as the market evolves to include advanced analytics, organizations have to move beyond traditional forms of marketing analytics toward incorporating unstructured data analysis as well. But how do organizations do this and what are the real benefits?

by: Lyndsay Wise, Wise Analytics

Unstructured Data 101: Practical Applications

The analysis of unstructured data is becoming more prevalent as organizations move beyond traditional forms of analyses to gain competitive advantage within the marketplace. Capturing transactional data and sales figures is no longer enough to keep organizations competitive or to maintain customer loyalty and satisfaction. This is especially true as unstructured data represents over half of an organization’s information sources. To stay competitive, organizations are shifting towards the analysis of unstructured data to gain additional insight into their customers, suppliers and competitors. The question organizations should ask when considering the analysis of unstructured data is how does leveraging unstructured data translate into better competitive advantage, increased customer loyalty and improved performance?

by: Lyndsay Wise, Wise Analytics

The Road to BI and Text Convergence

Organizations with mature BI infrastructures constantly look for ways to increase the efficiency of their current applications and to integrate business intelligence into their overall business processes. One way this can be achieved is through the integration of BI with other applications such as accounting, HR, ERP, and CRM. As BI becomes integrated within these applications, the potential for additional data capture becomes apparent. With ERP related processes and manufacturing, organizations can identify parts defects and the reasons why. Within CRM, customer service notes can be captured to help measure customer sentiments. Both of these examples highlight the use of unstructured data to enhance the ability of business intelligence to help organizations with their analysis of their business, including how customers, competitors, and suppliers view their organization.

by: Lyndsay Wise, Wise Analytics

One-on-One with Johnnie Konstantas - VP of Marketing for Varonis Systems

Dashboard Insight recently spoke with Johnnie Konstantas, who explained how the Varonis Data Governance Suite ensures rightful access to data - and more.

by: Karly Gaffney, Dashboard Insight

Justifying Marketing Budgets By Using BI

When organizations look at allocating budgets and general financial resources to disparate departments within the organization, the general rule is that departments that are directly responsible for bringing in revenue will be given the largest budgets. This is why the general assumption is that R&D and sales departments may have larger budgets than departments such as IT or HR.

by: Lyndsay Wise, Wise Analytics

How Many Types of KPIs are There?

It seems the Holy Grail for scorecards and dashboards seems to be organizations seeking to answer, “What should our key performance indicators (KPIs) be?” Websites such as KPI Library.com help address this challenge. At the heart of selecting KPIs should be their linkage to the executive team’s strategy. However, there are different stakeholders in an organization, such as internal manager and investor governance boards. Each stakeholder has different needs. Hence there should be different types of KPIs.

by: Gary Cokins, www.sas.com

Economic Reality: Get the Information in the Hands of the Users

There is a deep dark challenge that frustrates nearly every CIO and it’s this: there is highly useful data that users know is in the organization and they are clamoring to access it – but they can’t. Finding ways to make this data available has proven nearly impossible because the information comes from multiple systems and combining it has proven to be time consuming, expensive, and fraught with peril.

by: David Caruso, Endeca Technologies Inc.

Taking Control Of Your Enterprise’s Unstructured Data

In every enterprise, a wealth of invaluable information exists in unstructured textual form, but organizations have found it difficult or impossible to access and utilize most of it. Although the number varies greatly by industry, it is generally accepted that about one third of vital corporate data is unstructured. (In some of the more service-related industries it is recognized that unstructured information makes up 80 percent of the enterprise’s data.) Business intelligence experts are in uniform agreement that without the contextual information that is provided by unstructured and semi-structured data, a complete view of corporate performance will not be possible.

by: William Laurent, William Laurent, Inc.

The Convergence Of Text Analytics And Business Intelligence

Technology advancements allow business intelligence to be applied more broadly and to include types of analysis never thought possible when it was first developed. This is especially true of unstructured data. In the past, structured data sources were valuable enough on their own to provide organizations what they required to understand their company’s performance and to plan for the future. Now, using structured data alone might not be enough to provide decision makers with a complete view of their company’s landscape.

by: Lyndsay Wise, Wise Analytics

Using Smart Search To Achieve True Business Intelligence

When organizations look at search and business intelligence, many see the use of search only within the parameters of their business intelligence solutions. In this sense, search functionality acts as a powerful tool that lets end users access information that they might not otherwise know exists. For instance, because many people create several reports, end users do not know if information or prepared analyses they require have already been created. Therefore, end users use search to identify what is already available, lessening the work required and adding to the amount of information available.

by: Lyndsay Wise, Wise Analytics

Dashboard Insight will be adding "Leveraging Unstructured Data" articles all month.

Please check back often.


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