Paradigm Shift Alert! Unstructured Data Will Soon Become a Valuable Business Asset

by | Mar 4, 2020

Businesses ingest enormous amounts of data from a multitude of sources, and it’s only going to increase in the years ahead.

According to the International Data Corporation (IDC), 90 percent of all digital data is unstructured, which means only 10 percent gets delivered in standardized formats with metadata that enables smooth translation from a sender’s business process outputs to a receiver’s business process inputs.

Yet, there’s a ton of value to be harvested from this mass of unstructured data, and being able to extract that value is going to be a huge factor in the success of countless companies in the near future, once technology catches up with our imaginations…

The Promise of Unstructured Data

Here at Imaging Office Systems, we estimate we’re about six months to a year away from artificial intelligence (AI) being advanced enough to reliably perform classification of unstructured data. When that happens, we’ll have the equivalent of millions of human beings at our service, sitting at their desks, going through miles-high stacks of papers at warp speed, deciding what’s important, what should be trashed, and who should get what.

All those millions…at a labor cost of whatever the going rate is for electricity in your town!

This has been one of the big-ticket items on the AI wishlist for years! Robots have been performing menial physical tasks for a generation, and once we finally cross this AI threshold, it’s going to be just as much of a game-changer for menial mental work.

Make no mistake—unstructured data is chaos personified, and until an AI is reliable enough to manage it from its unstructured state all the way through to becoming a valuable business asset, digital transformation will remain a nascent concept.

Many refer to this yet unachieved capability as “intelligent capture.” Sure, there are tech companies out there touting existing products that are supposedly able to perform “intelligent capture,” but as of this writing in March 2020, “intelligent capture” still hasn’t become a functional reality that can exist outside the influence and intervention of pre-written rules and data engineers. In other words, humans must still tell these supposedly “intelligent” capture systems how to do their jobs.

Once “intelligent capture” has truly become reliably intelligent, data engineers will finally be able to sit back and enjoy a latte! You’ll know that time has arrived once “intelligent capture” is able to do these two things intuitively without outside intervention or direction:

  1. Automated classification and categorization: This capability will make classifying incoming information and assigning relevant metadata fast and accurate enough to be reliable.
  2. Automated data extraction: The ability to spot and extract important information from unstructured data.

Prepare Now to Reap the Benefits of Unstructured Data

Once it becomes a reality, true “intelligent capture” will function as a sort of keystone that will elevate the power and meaning of “enterprise content management.” Because, hey, if 90 percent of the data that flows into an organization is unstructured and unusable with current technology, how good of a job is a conventional “enterprise content management” actually doing if it’s only capturing 10 percent?

Imaging Office Systems will soon be launching an enterprise content management of our own that will set the stage for truly “intelligent capture” and digital transformation that actually lives up to its name.