Understanding Different Types of Data

If your monthly storage bill is any indication, one thing’s for sure: you have a lot of data.

And for good reason!

Data is one of — if not the — most valuable resource at your disposal. It helps you improve organizational efficiency, make informed business decisions, strengthen data governance measures, and streamline growth.

However, data grows quickly — too quickly to keep up with. Consequently, the sheer abundance of data within your systems makes it challenging to organize and manage. It clogs your file shares, bogs down your servers, and impedes productivity across the board.

Let’s face it: you need to deal with your data. 

That said, it doesn’t have to be your enemy. Data can be the key to your business success if managed correctly. With the right strategy and management system in place, you can get a handle on your data. But first, you need to know the different types of data that exist — and how to tell them apart.

Structured, Semistructured, & Unstructured Data — How to Tell Them Apart 

Your organization is a complex ecosystem. It contains a treasure trove of data that can be the key to your business success if stored and used correctly. Accessing this data requires knowing where it lives and how to locate it. To do this, you must first understand the three main data types and how to differentiate them.

Structured Data

Three types of data can exist within your organization. The first type is structured data. Structured data is quantifiable information classified in a way that is easy to read and comprehend. Structured data fits into a predefined structure, such as a spreadsheet or database, sorted into columns and rows according to preset parameters. This framework and its parameters make structured data simple to search, find, extract, and use. 

Semistructured Data

The second type of data is semistructured data. Semistructured data is information with markers or tags that identify and tell you what it is about. A social media post is an excellent example of semistructured data. While the actual subject of the post (such as an image) contains qualitative properties, it can also have textual components like hashtags which categorize the information and make it easy to locate. 

However, semistructured data comes with challenges. Primarily, it is harder to analyze because organizations must first find or create a method for their systems to understand the data’s qualitative elements. In turn, semistructured data is more challenging to manage.

Unstructured Data

The final type of data is unstructured data. Unstructured data is raw information that does not fit into a standard organizational structure. Instead, systems store unstructured data in native formats, such as image files, audio clips, freeform text, scanned PDFs, and design documents. 

This data lives in your company’s file servers, shared drives, and email inboxes. It is highly qualitative, subject to interpretation, and sorted differently depending on individual characteristics. In turn, unstructured data is significantly harder to find, use, store, and analyze within a content management system.

How Can Your Organization Use Its Unstructured Data?

Unstructured data is an information goldmine. It contains crucial insights into all lines of business, including your products, suppliers, customers, and employees, to name a few. 

Understanding, organizing, and connecting your unstructured data gives you a complete view of your company — it helps you elevate your business operations, streamline productivity, improve productivity, and generate growth. Connecting and efficiently organizing your data also enables you to understand what information needs more security than others, which is vital for reducing risks and acting according to industry regulations. 

When you fully understand your data and its content sources throughout your organization, you are better equipped to make informed decisions about what you will do with that data whether that means keeping it, getting rid of it, or refiling it.

Shinydocs Can Help You Put Your Unstructured Data to Work

Until now, you may have assumed that the only way to get a grip on your data was to bring it into a structured system. Shinydocs solves this problem for you. Shinydocs is a data intelligence platform that helps you discover, understand, enhance, and manage your data wherever it exists in your content management system.

With Shinydocs software and strategy in place, you will understand your unstructured data, where it lives, and how much of it you have — and make informed decisions about how you use it. 

Discover Your Unstructured Data

Firstly, Shinydocs software helps users identify, visualize, and organize their unstructured data from one centralized location. 

Shinydocs’ Data Discovery tool scans your content repositories and then uses rules to identify and categorize your files, documents, and media to create a complete and regularly updated master content inventory. 

Shinydocs then displays the results of your unstructured data inventory on an interactive dashboard. Dashboards allow you to explore your content according to preset parameters such as file format, storage location, last update, and other classification tags. In turn, your organization can see where its critical content resides and take action to monitor and manage it effectively.

Search Your Unstructured Data

From there, Shinydocs’ Enterprise Search tool connects all information from personal drives, individual share sites, network drives, and corporate repositories into a centralized search interface. This interface provides users with an accessible and user-friendly search experience.

With one simple yet powerful enterprise search, your teams can find any file in your organization and access the answers and insights they need when they need them — without digging through various platforms and manually extracting the data themselves.

Lastly, the Search tool inherits your access permissions from all connected content sources, so users can only access authorized content. With Shinydocs software, you can rest assured that your information is appropriately accessed and used. 

Migrate Your Unstructured Data 

Shinydocs software creates an enterprise-wide content inventory to provide a complete picture of what data you have, where it lives, and where it needs to go. With this software in place, data migration is easier than ever.

You can use Shinydocs’ built-in rules or create your own to identify and locate sources of clutter, such as unneeded ROT files or drives with poorly organized documents, then clean them up by disposing of them or moving them at a large scale into a semi or structured format. 

From there, you can automatically migrate existing content from multiple sources to a new destination and set up a recurring schedule to migrate content as you create it until you shut down the old system. Whether going to the cloud or from one in-house system to another, Shinydocs’ strategy and automation software ensure you only migrate data that matters.

Closing Considerations

With proper organization and data management strategies in place, your data becomes your organization’s biggest asset. 

Shinydocs can help you identify, locate, and visualize your data from one centralized location, whether you’re a startup, a small business, or an established global enterprise. 

Data management doesn’t have to be daunting.

Shinydocs makes sure of that.

We’re Rethinking Data

At Shinydocs, rethinking data means constantly questioning our assumptions, reimagining what’s possible, and testing new ideas every step of the way to transform how businesses function.

We believe that there’s a better, more intuitive way for businesses to manage their data. Contact us to improve your data management, compliance, and governance.

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