As businesses break down their silos and take a “customer-first” approach, they are beginning to rely heavily on data and data-driven insights to make real-time business decisions. Especially the marketing functions have been at the forefront of leveraging data to enhance the overall customer experience.
In 2016, almost 56% of the companies considered data-driven marketing as their key strategy and around 80% of the marketers across global companies felt that data was core to most of their business efforts.
While there is an explosion of data today, it should also be noted that over 80% of the data generated is unstructured. Unstructured data means the data which cannot be stored in a pre-defined manner or data structure. Today, while most of the organizations have been able to make use of structured data via distributed storage and processing methods, the real problem lies as huge amounts of this unstructured data remains untapped within the organizations and are not managed efficiently.
Here we’ve shared our insights on how this unstructured data can be used more intelligently by organizations to empower business decisions and provide better customer experience.
What is Unstructured Data and Why it Matters?
As mentioned above, most of the unstructured data is text-based and is derived from digital sources without any well-defined format. Unstructured data is typically data which is not present in fixed length format which is also known as transactional data.
Social media posts, comments are some of the key sources for gaining insights through unstructured data. Similarly, data gathered from internal sources such as visual presentations, videos, marketing reports, and collateral are also some of the examples of unstructured data. Besides, online reviews, comments, inquiries generated via phone calls, customer feedback are some other forms of customer-generated content.
According to IDC estimates, by 2025 there will be an exponential increase in data with the presence of around 163 zettabytes of data around the world. With almost 80% of the data which is in the unstructured form in the organizations, it becomes imperative for organizations to learn about the different kinds of unstructured data that is being accumulated and know the right approach for processing and storing this data to gain business advantages.
In the absence of appropriate data management strategies and knowledge in these areas, companies may not be able to keep up with the growing market competition nor make the best use of unstructured data to boost their business efficiency.
NLP and Unstructured Data
Majority of the organizations today are using data mainly for some specialized applications and most of them are in the form of structured data. But over the years, it has been predicted that there will be an unprecedented increase in the volume of unstructured data among companies. Today there are more tools available for managing data without the need for making huge investments. This has made it feasible to gather better insights from the vast reserves of unstructured data that exists within the organization by combining them with business intelligence, analytics, and numbers gathered through structured data.
Structured data helps in providing vital information through figures regarding revenues and operational related metrics, whereas unstructured information is more critical for understanding how the business actually works. The internal process within the company, knowledge base and competitive edge can be found through a wide range of text in the written form. With the use of NLP (Natural Language Processing), intelligent search capabilities and unified access of information, it’s possible to extract this key information from the text and share among others who require to use it.
This can assist companies to drive innovation, boost operational efficiencies and improve business effectiveness to ensure greater performance and profitability. NLP is also becoming more relevant today and has significant value for businesses due to its inherent language processing capabilities. This helps them in making deep analysis to derive insights into customer behavior and their sentiments for taking intelligent business decisions and improved outcomes. With its data mining capabilities, NLP can assist companies to mine valuable information from huge volumes of data which can be used for improving customer service and experience.
How organizations can create more value from unstructured data
The biggest challenge for organizations lies in extracting valuable information from unstructured data in the most accurate and efficient manner. A huge volume of valuable data is being generated in the form of social media posts, scanned documents, and web related data which, when leveraged, can offer companies a lot of valuable business intelligence.
Here we’ve presented some ways in which organizations can effectively utilize unstructured data –
Incorporate data into the core business processes
Unstructured data, when categorized and analyzed, can help organizations in boosting the efficiency of their internal business processes. The data becomes more usable, actionable and useful in meeting different needs within the organization. The growth of unstructured data can create new opportunities for delivering better customer experiences and making improvements within organizations which are highly data-driven.
Boost productivity and innovation
A strategic and systematic plan may be required to ensure that organizations can have easy access, learn and manipulate to reap the best benefits from the huge volumes of unstructured data that exists. Besides, effective data management and reporting is the key to improved business intelligence. By mining unstructured data, companies can get to know the preferences of their customers, discover their unmet needs, and identify the market gaps – all these things can enhance their innovation efforts.
Improve customer experience
Unstructured data helps companies gain deeper insight into customer habits and their behavior – especially through social media channels. This assists them in deciding upon the best strategies to target their key audience and attract them towards their products and services. Predictive analysis is a valuable tool for transforming data from multiple sources into categorized customer segments depending on buying behavior for improving their cross-selling and branding efforts.
Reduce response time for resolving issues
Companies can identify the pain points of their customers by closely tracking their customers’ comments and suggestions, which can assist them in taking quick and timely action for improving customer experience. They can also provide quick feedback using social media that helps them to meet the expectations of their customers on time and build loyalty towards their brand.
Unstructured data presents valuable business opportunities and with the right approach and systematic planning, companies can use it to improve their company culture, lead innovation efforts, boost the productivity and efficiency of their organization, and also enhance the overall customer experience.