The Barriers to Unstructured Data Governance

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Open Calais Content Mapsby Angela Guess

Jack Vaughan of Search Data Management recently interviewed industry vet Anne Marie Smith regarding unstructured data and the possibilities of unstructured data governance. Smith told Vaughan, “If you think of a Word document that’s stored electronically, that’s unstructured data. If you think of email, that’s unstructured data. The recording that you’re making of this conversation is unstructured data. All of that has existed in the past but now there has been an explosion of the storage capabilities. So not only has the definition of big data evolved to include more stuff, the volume of it has increased. Now there’s a conundrum — what is value and what value could this material contain? We don’t know yet, which is why companies are trying to mine this data but they don’t know what they’re looking for.”

Smith continued, “Many companies have not even bothered to govern their structured data up to this point for a variety of reasons. They didn’t see this data was an asset in itself so there was no point in governing it like they govern assets such as money, physical plants or products they make. But recently, a fair number of companies had discovered that it is a value to structured data, so they started to institute some forms of data governance… I would venture to say that if you took the totality of companies that are engaging in some form of structured data cost governance, not even 1%, maybe one-half of 1% of them, are engaging in any form of unstructured data governance, for a variety of reasons. They’re struggling as it is with structured data governance, so they’re staring at the mountain of structured data governance and they don’t know what to do with that. So, why would they ever tackle this unknown thing of unstructured data that they barely know how to define?”

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