Extracting Insights from Unstructured Data – Driving Business Growth

November 29, 2014

8:00 am

Today unstructured data is generated across a multitude of organizations; this unstructured data is growing at a faster pace than the pace at which it is consumed. It is not possible for a human to manually surf through, understand and extract insights from unstructured data and communicate them across various channels. Computers can access and read through this data, however for computers, gathering data insights is not really possible.

All the information that is cluttered or scattered across files, and across platforms, is unstructured for a computer.

This unstructured data can be present across emails, snail mails, hand written documents, letters, on tweets, message boards, in forums, voice mails etc. to name a few. When valuable data is scattered across various mediums and across different platforms, it is a locked value, and cannot be utilized effectively to drive business growth.

What information can be unlocked by extracting relevant data insights from various platforms and presenting it in a structured analytical format?

Data Insights & Information Which Businesses Need Very Often:

  • Market sentiment
  • Latest news updates that can have an impact on your business
  • Customer behavior, customer opinions and requirements, customer grievances and much more
  • Information about organization circulating on social media : improves social listening
  • Competitor strategies and announcements

Manual processing of unstructured data to extract insight does happen implicitly, however it is not scalable for huge data volumes. Big data needs to be dealt with industriously, and this is done via data extraction. Extracting data into a structured format helps bring ideas and resources together and interconnects people, practices, and customers to build knowledge.

Information extraction from an unstructured data can be done for people, addresses, phone numbers, etc. to name a few. It can be also done to extract the relationships between entities, to gain insights into customer behavior, to track competitor strategies, product prices, extract information about products, events and much more.

Another common type of extraction is the one that encourages social listening; it can be done by collecting information about customer interactions, their reviews, sentiment analysis etc. Extracting all this information and making it structured, enables represent knowledge in the most assertive, understandable and analytical manner.

As a Result you get Answers to your Questions like:

  • What products are the most popular and why?
  • Why are customers leaving us?
  • Why – a product that was once very popular, has reached its decline stage?
  • What is the value of a ‘tweet’, a ‘like’ or a share?
  • Are we providing the desired level or customer services or are our investments in this direction going waste?
  • What is the best price for my product?

How is data extracted from web?

Data extraction is a process where data is crawled and relevant information is retrieved from data sources like social media websites, forums, e-commerce websites, from emails and several such locations. The data processing activity that follows includes addition of Meta data and other data integration processes. Major portion of the extracted data comes from data formats such as tables, indexes, forms and analytics.

Information Extraction meets Data Analytics:

A combination of data extraction tools and technologies enable extraction of the most useful information from across platforms. When this unstructured data is collated, examined and presented in a visual manner to uncover the hidden patterns and unknown co-relations, it can be used to take informed and hence better decisions.

When an information platter is not just a plate full of information, but it makes sense to you, and you know what to do with this information, it empowers your organization with actionable knowledge and insight.

Information extraction is not about data, it is about insight and its impact and this is what drives business growth:

The potential of big data, data extraction and analytics lies in its ability to solve problems pertaining to your business and hence expand your horizons, making scope for more business opportunities. In order to make the most of these three pillars that help your transform data into actionable insights, it is important to form your questions well and define what and from where data needs to be extracted.

Now when your requirements are clear, it becomes easy to transform unstructured data into useful and directed information that gives you an insight to solve your targeted problem and take firm and informed business decisions.

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Ritesh Sanghani is a Director at Hi-Tech BPO and a passionate writer with experience of 10+ years of in Business Process Outsourcing, managing strength of 450+ professionals.