Olivier Weissbeck, Clarisse and Anna Mika, OAKland Group
When you consider that data represents one of the most important business opportunities for companies today, you may have good reason to question its relevance when this opportunity is assessed using only 20% of what data really represents for a company. In fact, 80% of managed data is unstructured. This data is not included in the performance and valuation of the company. It might be time to address this issue!
What do we mean by data valuation?
There are two distinct pillars to data valuation: Data patrimony and data potential.
Data patrimony comprises all the data collected by a company or an organisation.
Many companies see the value of data solely in marketing terms. But they are greatly underestimating its true value. In addition to the purely commercial aspect of monetisation of data, data constitutes a real commodity in terms of knowledge, measurement, identification, support for decision making, anticipation, etc. Approaching its business activity from a data perspective is a key enabler for a company.
By data potential we mean the value that companies can derive, not from the data that they possess, but from analysing data that they can access. Companies can then value their business activities, sometimes by a disproportionate amount, solely in terms of the potential of data they do not own. There are many examples of companies doing this, such as Waze, valued at $1.15 billion; Skype, at $8.65 billion; LinkedIn, at $26.2 billion; and recently Twitter, with a potential value of $44 billion.
Thus companies can increase their value through data. The difficulty lies in the accessibility of the data (whether internal or external) and the ability of companies to identify the potential of each item of data. This is relatively straightforward in the case of structured data, but it becomes much more complex when dealing with unstructured data.
Structured and unstructured data
Structured data is organised and easy to collect and analyse, whereas unstructured data is difficult to identify, and exploiting it involves a great deal of research.
Unstructured data can be in various forms, such as Excel or Word files, presentations, video, e-mail, paper documents, etc. These are media containing data that is not managed by business applications. It is generally stored in a more-or-less haphazard fashion on file servers, local hard drives, USB sticks, the cloud or other volatile digital media. Since this data is neither centralised nor organised, it poses a number of challenges, not least in terms of accessibility.
This data has been increasing exponentially in volume over the years, however, identifying and organising it has become a matter of urgency.
It is a remarkable asset, yet companies do not yet give sufficient consideration to it, even though at 80% it represents a significant proportion of their databases.
Structuring unstructured data
The question is how to structure this unstructured data, especially since very few software applications on the market are capable of processing it, particularly in heterogeneous environments.
But there are solutions, such as Clarisse, an “all-in-one” solution from Accecia. These solutions provide companies with an important lever, allowing them not only to include unstructured data in their business valuations, but also to take full advantage of their data on an operational level by enabling fast, secure and reliable access to a commodity that is not widely recognised as such.