Raw data that cannot be molded or fit into a form – excel, video, audio, images – is unstructured. It doesn’t conform to a data model and, as such, has no identifiable structure, is haphazard, and cannot be read by a software program. Its lack of organization in a pre-defined manner makes it unreadable. This data can be anything, from reviews for products to stock market trends and social posts. From a larger perspective, much of the world’s data is unstructured. For example, the things we read daily on Facebook or Instagram, articles that don’t have a fixed form or shape, are all very relevant and vital but cannot be deciphered for lack of a digital program or software.
To elaborate, below are a few characteristics of unstructured data:
- It is structureless or lacks the definition of a known structure
- Unorganized, free-flowing, not stored in neat rows or columns like a database
- There is no format, sequence, or flow
- Data does not follow semantic rules
- Because of the lack of structure, no known computer programs can make sense of it
Unstructured data can be in any form or shape. The most common types are Videos, Reports, PPTs, Memos, Social posts, Websites, and Surveys.
Accessing such information by companies can help in myriad ways.
- Building Use Cases and White Papers
- Foreseeing product or service trajectory and intervening when necessary