Unstructured Data: a Challenge for IT Decision-Makers

by Alex KhizhniakJanuary 29, 2008
What is the state of corporate information in today's enterprises?

Terabytes of unstructured data

Found a great post by Paul Weinberg of eChannelLine observing a recent survey report by Taneja Group, a storage and server industry analyst. The company surveyed 238 IT decision-makers in North America and Great Britain around different industries. To give you an idea about the audience, I’d quote that “53 percent of users had 11 terabytes or more of unstructured data in their environments.”

So, 62 percent of the respondents reported that the unstructured data within their companies was growing between 16 and 75 percent per year. Despite the fact that the dispersion in this result is definitely too wide, this seems to be true.

Taneja discovered that the major drivers for unstructured data growth among survey respondents are Microsoft Office (78 percent), e-mail attachments (66 percent), and backup and archival (81 percent combined).

As you can see, despite the adoption of Salesforce CRM and other platforms, enterprises are still suffering from file disintegration. For them, it is still a challenge to manage e-mail attachments and MS Excel spreadsheets as part of a one-view structure or SOA.


Too expensive to solve

Furthermore, Steve Norall, a senior analyst at Taneja Group, is inclined to think that people are not going to move all of the data into a single storage space. Why?.. Due to huge expenses. (Yep, open-source middleware could be a Joker here.) So, he predicts that file management and integration companies will benefit from this and “should prosper.”

Finally, the majority of respondents expected their file management and control budgets would grow by up to 20 percent in the next 12 months.

This means the problem is really a headache and the executives are ready to pay for a solution. Besides the adoption of open-source data integration and file management software, I expect that any related services are going to be on the rise, as well. One of the probable solutions is to take an open-source tool set (like Apatar) and allocate a budget for customizing this software to your unique integration needs.

Moving data to MS Excel with Apatar Data Integration

In this case, the unstructured data management costs may stay far below the 20-percent level expected by the executives.


Integrating unstructured data from MS Office

In addition to the e-mail and MS Excel connectors, which already exist in Apatar, we’re currently working on releasing Apatar Merge, a lightweight add-on to integrate MS Word with Saleforce CRM. It will greatly facilitate the process of creating templates and documents between Word letters, e-mails, faxes, etc. and Salesforce.com’s Customers and Leads tables.

Apatar Merge will enable users to efficiently create reports, retrieving information on their contacts, companies, titles, campaigns, etc. and inserting this information right into a template or any other document for analysis. By using Apatar Merge, users will be able to save an incredible amount of time and effort and thus effectively manage daily correspondence and reporting.

Check out this video tutorial for more.


Further reading