- Many companies have large unstructured data sets but are unable to make use of them.
- Upgrading unstructured data into valuable intelligence can be costly and time-consuming.
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For driven firms that need a strategic advantage, every actionable insight could give that competitive edge. And for organisations seeking fresh business intelligence, the first step is often to extract more data on their own client base.
How did your customers hear about your business, and what are they telling others about your product? Why are your sales peaking at a specific time of the day, week, month or year? What makes your service perform well among a specific demographic and not with others? These questions could be the key to client retention and ad spend efficiency, and the answers are often in companies’ own customer data.
Although the amount of information available to managers is constantly increasing, many organisations remain unable to capitalise on their own data. In the race to uncover concrete intelligence, companies can hit a serious hurdle when their own data sets are too large, complex or unorganised to provide immediate insights.
“Sometimes when businesses capture customer data, they still can’t do very much with it because it’s unstructured. It simply isn’t organised in a way that immediately provides intelligence they can use,” says Alejandro Codón, Manager for the Latin America region at Inova Solutions, a 24-year-old software licensing firm with about 35 members of staff, and operations in Curacao, Jamaica, Trinidad, Ecuador and Puerto Rico.
Codón explained that even when enterprises have considerable amounts of rich information about their own business processes, they still need a way to convert that unstructured data into something more meaningful. Without that critical conversion, the unstructured data remains simply another untapped source of valuable intelligence.
“Lots of businesses have a large amount of information that isn’t organised but still needs to be analysed. It happens to organisations across all industries, regardless of age or size,” he said.
“The problem is that the process of turning unstructured information into complex data models can be a costly, time-consuming and, at times, even confusing for business managers. Processing datasets requires time, which larger companies may not have, and expertise, which smaller companies may not be able to afford.”
In order to plumb their own customer data, companies therefore have to deploy software tools and devise workflows that allow them to analyse unstructured information without incurring steep expense, investing large amounts of time or recruiting highly qualified specialist services.
Inova Solutions was recognised by Microsoft in 2009 as their Licensing Solutions Provider for countries within the Caribbean, Central and South America. Among the solutions they provide is Microsoft’s Power BI, an affordable and scalable application that effectively levels the playing field for any company seeking to extract meaningful insights from its own data.
“What brings people to Power BI is the need to quickly analyse data without having to build complex data models themselves,” said Hans Kruithof, Managing Director of Inova Solutions.
“This is a service that you can use even when you are not an expert in gathering results from unstructured data. And it gives small and medium-sized enterprises the same data mining power as large organisations.”