We’ve all dealt with clutter in one form or another, whether it be dishes piling up in the sink or thirty tabs open on our desktop at one time. No matter how annoying it may get, sometimes we’re just too lazy to do anything about it. We’d rather lift a finger to open another tab than sort out the ones we don’t need. When we finally give in and clear up the clutter, we see a glistening sink at the end of the tunnel and wonder why we didn’t do this 1..2.. or even 3 weeks ago.
The same goes for unstructured data. It can be the bane of our existence, causing mayhem wherever it may lurk. Even so, often organizations are too busy moving forward with their business to clean up the mess they leave behind.
Not only can unstructured data take a long time to locate, but it also costs money to store, duplicate and distribute, which can result in file misplacement and compliance violations. It can also diminish the value of an EMR, billing system, ERP or other departmental information system as employees need those systems to find unstructured content.
Unstructured data has become more and more common throughout the years. Some analysts even estimate that it actually makes up more than 80 percent of an organization’s information. Below are common types of unstructured data that might be missing from your core systems:
Accounting and Finance:
- Vendor correspondence
- Financial reports
- Onboarding documents
- Credentialing records
- Applicant resumes and CVs
- Employee records
Legal and Compliance:
- Policy documents
- Audit trails
Unifying and indexing these types of data with core systems is possible through enterprise content management (ECM). With ECM, core systems can restore their value and bring efficiency back to the workplace. Linking unstructured data and core systems gives users access to content when and where they need it, eliminating the need to click between systems or flip through file cabinets.
Starting to organize all the clutter might seem overwhelming. If that’s the case, start with a single department or process and work from there. This allows you to take a deeper dive into your operations so you can fully understand what it takes to support them.