In September the Aberdeen Group published a report entitled ‘Business Analytics and Unstructured Data – Are You Asking the Right Questions?’  A better tag-line would have been ‘Are You Getting the Right Answers?’ The report is based on a survey that the Aberdeen Group carried out in January this year around Big Data, the results of which have been used in a number of the Group’s reports. What caught my attention in the report was the statement that employees had access to unstructured data analysis tools they spent 3.1 hours a week looking for data. When there was no access to unstructured data employees spent 5.1 hours a week on this task because of the additional effort involved in tracking down and making sense of the data.

Another chart shows a remarkable picture of the extent to which companies with good access to unstructured data had seen significant improvements over the previous 12 months in the accuracy of their business decisions, the time taken to make the decision, the quality of the analysis and the ability to define the data sets they needed to look at. In the view of the Aberdeen Group –

“Fundamentally this improvement is due in large part to better understanding the context around their business operations. When simple statistics fail to paint the full picture they are able to go out and glean addition insights from customers. suppliers and internal stakeholders”

This report is one of an increasing number (AIIM, Accenture, Capgemini, SAP and others) which show that just having access to large scale business data repositories and applications is not the sole answer to making more informed decisions about the direction that the organisation should be going in. Search and content analytics applications have a very important role to play.

Martin White