Boost Efficiency by Making Your Unstructured Data Discoverable
Managing unstructured data is an increasing problem plaguing a good portion of organizations today. Merrill Lynch, a global research and financial management company, estimates that more than 85 percent of all potentially usable business information exists as unstructured data. According to Unisphere Research, a majority of survey respondents acknowledged that unstructured information is growing out of control and is driving the big data explosion – 91% said unstructured information already lives in their organizations, but many aren’t sure what to do about it.
The term unstructured data can mean different things in different contexts. For example, in the context of relational database systems, it refers to data that can't be stored in rows and columns. This data must instead be stored in a BLOB (binary large object), a catch-all data type available in most relational database management system (DBMS) software. Here, unstructured data is understood to include e-mail files, word-processing text documents, PowerPoint presentations, JPEG and GIF image files, and MPEG video files. (Source: Information Management Magazine February 2003)
In simpler terms, unstructured data can be thought of as business information that’s not searchable within a database. For example, invoices stored in a file cabinet, meeting notes in a desk drawer, or documents stored on a network file sharing drive.
Imagine receiving a request for a two-year old invoice. How would you find it? Would you have to look in the appropriate file cabinet in your office or box at a warehouse? That process could easily take up a good portion of your valuable time. According to the market-research firm Outsell Inc., office workers now spend an average of 9.5 hours each week searching, gathering and analyzing information. There goes your lunch break.
By implementing a robust document management solution, like PaperSavePro, you can add structure to your unstructured data by way of metadata. Metadata is a set of data that describes other data. In other words, it’s information that helps describe a document or file so you can find it later.
Metadata can include information such as author, time of creation and keywords such as vendor, invoice number, date, dollar amount and/or description, all of which can be captured automatically through PaperSavePro’s seamless integration with your enterprise resource planning (ERP) system. So when you digitize paper documents by scanning and adding them to the system with all your electronic documents, they can become linked and/or discoverable via their metadata.
Now imagine receiving the same request for a two-year old invoice. By accessing your PaperSavePro document management and electronic workflow system, within a few seconds and a couple clicks of your mouse, you can access the invoice, review its information and even email it to someone. Now that’s working efficiently. Hello lunch break!
For most organizations, a wealth of invaluable information exists in unstructured textual form. Don’t let the unstructured data in your organization continue to grow out of control. Get a document management system that can make all your valuable information discoverable and help your employees work more efficiently.
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