As enterprises strive for digital transformation, every aspect of doing business creates data. That means that volumes are continually increasing—by up to 25% annually, according to a recent CIO Market Pulse survey, sponsored by Pure Storage. 

Most of that (about 80%) is unstructured. Unlike structured data, unstructured data doesn’t fit into the neat rows and columns of a spreadsheet. It can be difficult to organize, process, and analyze because it comes in a variety of formats. For example, it could be agent-generated notes about customer service calls, video surveillance files, social media posts, email content, internet of things (IoT) data from smart sensors, or conversations on Slack. 

Within an enterprise’s growing collection of unstructured data lies a potential treasure trove. Companies that put it to use, through analytics and artificial intelligence (AI), can leap ahead of the competition with critical insights that help them streamline processes, pivot with ease, increase revenue, and enhance the customer experience

So the question is, can you ever have too much? The answer is no—as long as you know how to efficiently store, manage, access, and analyze it. 

Many Enterprises Are Letting Data Go to Waste 

Potentially half of the unstructured data being generated today isn’t being stored and utilized, say experts at IDG. The study also found that while 80% or more of all it is unstructured, enterprises report that less than 40% of their total stored is unstructured. That means a whole lot of unstructured data is falling through the cracks. 

Does every single byte of unstructured data generate valuable insights? Certainly not, but it’s clear that many organizations are deleting or overwriting massive quantities that do have potential value. All that is wasted represents real losses—missed ROI, missed opportunities to evolve operations and improve experiences, and missed potential to gain a competitive edge. 

Success Comes from Smart Storage and Management 

Realizing the true value of unstructured data first requires the ability to intelligently store and manage it. Enterprises must have a modern storage platform and framework. Legacy storage, which was often siloed and difficult to search, is a serious roadblock today to innovation and insights, especially those coming from the tidal wave of new and invaluable unstructured data. 

Some organizations’ strategies haven’t kept up with growth rates and don’t address today’s challenges. Without unified, high-performance storage, enterprises will never be able to turn their unstructured data into much-desired business value. 

A Harvard Business Review article illustrated the road ahead for organizations that want to succeed in digital transformation: 

“Transformation almost certainly involves understanding new types of unstructured data (e.g., a driver-supplied picture of damage to a car), massive quantities of data external to your company, leveraging proprietary it, and integrating everything together, all while shedding enormous quantities of data that have never been (and never will be) used.”

That kind of in-depth knowledge about an organization’s collection takes intense focus and many discussions with key stakeholders across the enterprise. It takes the right people asking the right questions about how to store, manage, and leverage the right data. 

But the results are worth it. 

How Pure Storage Can Help

Storing, managing, and leveraging data is the key to digital success, particularly as real-time insights become critical. The amount of structured and unstructured data in the world—and your enterprise—is only going to increase, especially as digital technologies advance. 

Pure Storage® delivers solutions that help you turn it into successful outcomes. We can help you modernize your storage with a fast, unified unstructured storage platform that allows you to get the maximum value from all of your unstructured data.

Download the paper to learn more: Harnessing Unstructured Data is Critical for Business Success