We live in a data driven society, data has become the life blood of the new age and organizations needs to harness the various types of data that could ensure better decision making and profits but I would like to lay more emphasis on the 4 types of data your organization needs to start considering in 2019

• Structured: These are the current ways your organization stores information. Its stored into a definite

database and it usually contain information about your business processes. Examples include sales and transaction records, financial data, website hits and customer details. Structured data has three main things going for it: it’s usually cheap to use, it’s easy to store, and it’s easy to mine for information. But, on the downside, it represents only a small proportion of all the data available these days – as the digital traces you leave behind get bigger and bigger, only a small amount of this data is structured in format. Another downside is that structured data is simply less rich in insights than unstructured data,meaning it can be more difficult (maybe even impossible) to really understand what’s going on if you’re using only structured data. For best results, structured data often needs to be paired with other data to get a fuller picture. For example, structured data can tell you that hits on your website increased 20 per cent last month, but you need other forms of data to explore why that happened.

• Unstructured: Unstructured data is basically all the data that doesn’t fit neatly into traditional

For best results, structured data often needs to be paired with other data to get a fuller picture.

formats or databases. Examples includes email conversations, social media posts, video content, photos and voice recordings. Semi-structured data is a cross between unstructured and structured data. It may have some structure that can be used for analysis (perhaps tags such as date or author, for example) but it lacks the strict structure of databases or spreadsheets. Unstructured and semi-structured data tends to be much more difficult to store (not least because so darn much of it is created every day). Now, thanks to massive increases in storage capacities and the ability to tag and categorise this data, as well as huge leaps in analytical technologies, you can finally make use of this data. The advantages of unstructured and semi-structured data are that there’s absolutely loads of it (it accounts for around 80 per cent of all business-relevant data being generated today), and it providers a richer picture than structured data. However, it’s harder to store and more difficult to analyse, which makes it more expensive to work with. Unstructured/semi- structured data is undoubtedly seen as the sexier, more exciting kind of data – as a result, people often make a beeline for it and neglect poor old structured data. But there’s value in both. Both can offer up interesting and useful insights that can help your business. In fact, the real value often comes in combining structured and unstructured data to get a really rich picture of what’s going on.

• Internal: Internal data accounts for everything your business currently has or could access.This may be structured in format (for example, a customer database or transactional records), or it could be unstructured (conversational data from customer service calls orfeedback from employee surveys, for instance). Many people think internal data isn’t very exciting, but it can provide a wealth of information. The beauty of internal data is that it’s cheap (or maybe even free) and, as you own the data, there are no access issues to deal with. But, the downsides include having to maintain and secure the data (especially if it includes personal data). You may also find that internal data on its own doesn’t provide enough information to meet your strategic goals and you may need to supplement it with external data.

• External: External data is all the information that exists outside your business, whether it’s

publicly available or privately held by a third party. It can also be structured or unstructured in format. Examples include social media data, census data and weather data. External data is powerful because it gives you access to information that’s often more up to date and richer than any information you could gather yourself. And, as it’s someone else’s data, you have the added bonus of not worrying about the security and data protection issues. But, the obvious downside is that you don’t own the data, and you usually have to pay for access

In conclusion the year 2019 would generated huge amount of data, don’t be limited to just what you have in your organization, expand your horizon by leveraging on the vast amount of data so that you could become a wise organization.

Olaniyi Moluga

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