4 Tips to Unearthing the Payload of Unstructured Data

4 Tips to Unearthing the Payload of Unstructured Data

In late 2018, we surveyed IT professionals to learn about current unstructured data trends and challenges. If you did not get an opportunity to read our blog on the survey and its findings, we found there were five surprising trends that emerged from the report:

  • Regulatory requirements are shaking up the enterprise
  • Unstructured data is becoming increasingly difficult to manage
  • Data lives forever
  • Traditional file systems are choking with extremely large and/or dense data sets
  • New workloads find a home on object storage

At the heart of the survey findings are the participants relationship with data. They know their data is growing exponentially, but identifying, protecting, and monetizing this new-age “gold” in a sea of information is daunting.

How to Go About Monetizing the New-Age “Gold”

The volume of data is growing so fast that getting the most from this valuable resource is a challenge.  You may find that the bulk of your data lacks the metadata that enables a more flexible use of this data, or your data may sit on traditional systems that can suffer from scaling limitations. These are particularly a challenge when considering the rise of analytics. Analytics needs constant access to data, and more data can lead to better analytics.

So, how do you start harnessing the power of your unstructured data?  Here are four quick tips when getting started:

1. Research:

Start by understanding the extent of your unstructured data challenge. This research is critical in making the right decisions about new solutions or tapping the full potential of current solutions to better identify, protect and monetize the data.

2. Metadata Needs:

Understanding your data is key to finding ways of seeing value from it. It is also easy to collect multiple copies of the same data and never really know what data you have stored or where it is located. Working with vendors/partners to establish your metadata needs is imperative. Having a plan for metadata will make it easier to extract value from the data by deciding what data to use for analytic workloads and to create more efficient searches. Metadata is critical for treating data like the asset it is meant to be.

3. Engage Stakeholders:

It is easy to start and stop your IT conversations with the CIO, but data goes beyond simply understanding “how-much” needs to be stored. When engaging with various stakeholders, you start to understand the business challenges and you can identify IT solutions that help to solve those problems. Whether it’s different metadata processes, deploying new tiers of storage, or establishing rules for the data, it is difficult to unearth “gold” in your data when you don’t know what business challenges your organization faces.

4. Assess Risk:

Privacy initiatives can have a substantial impact on business data, potentially requiring better identification and granular management of both structured and unstructured data. Being able to identify and manage this sensitive data can help enterprises to successfully navigate these initiatives.

Strategies for Managing Unstructured Data

Steven Hill, senior analyst at 451 Research, and I recently discussed the survey findings and strategies of how to tap into this unearthed payload. You can watch the video at BrightTalk.

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