New Industry Study Highlights Role of Unstructured Data In Improving Corporate Decision-Making, Productivity

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Ability to integrate and apply business information in new ways allows companies to gain better business insight and improve operational excellence.

A recent survey of more than 300 enterprises found that companies that integrate and apply unstructured information into their business operations often make better and faster strategic decisions, respond more quickly to changing market demands and enjoy significant improvements in employee productivity.

The study examined the key criteria used to distinguish Best-in-Class organizations, and found that these Best-in-Class companies shared important practices in their efforts to obtain business benefit from unstructured data. The study was conducted earlier this year by Aberdeen Group, a leading provider of fact-based research focused on the global technology value chain, and was underwritten in part by QL2 Software, the leading provider of Market Intelligence On Demand.

Unstructured data is business information that is stored without a predefined organizational hierarchy or methodology. It is typically available online in the form of documents, text files, spreadsheets, web pages, digital media files and images. Unstructured information can be found inside organizations' information systems, and is often publicly available on the Internet. Estimates from several leading industry experts show that 85 percent of business information exists as unstructured data, and that the amount of unstructured business data is doubling every three months.

"The results of this study demonstrate the importance and true benefit of bringing unstructured data into the enterprise," said Glenn Hasen, chief executive officer of QL2 Software. "When real-time market intelligence is accessed and integrated into internal business decisions, organizations respond to market changes more quickly, and act upon opportunities that may have been previously missed. Market intelligence results in improved sales, margins, product mix, and a more complete view into customers and competitors."

In order to derive benefit from unstructured data and the value locked within it, enterprises must use automated tools that can find, read and interpret their information in real time. The data is then extracted and placed into structures, which can then be utilized by other business systems and organizations throughout the enterprise. Enterprises can derive the highest return on investment (ROI) from this process when data is delivered in real-time, and when it is derived from the broadest possible array of sources.

"Integrating unstructured information via text analytics and federated search enables analysis of new untapped information (considered by many to represent over 85% of an organization's data) including: web logs, word documents, emails, customer surveys and feedback, field service notes and more," said David Hatch, Research Director, Business Intelligence at Aberdeen Group. "The ability to transform unstructured data into relational data, and to open up information silos through enterprise search technology, enables greater performance in proactive management of customer relations. It also increases the amount and quality of actionable information available for decision making. This improves the ROI realized with enterprise use of BI applications."

Detailed Criteria and Findings
The study surveyed and ranked the 300 enterprises during May and June, 2007 according to four key operational performance criteria:
Enterprise-wide Business Intelligence (BI) corporate adoption rate;
Strategies and technologies for integrating and leveraging unstructured data;
Ability to predict customer behavior; and
Employee productivity

Best-in-Class organizations showed significant improvements in all four areas during the previous two years:
94 percent reported greater than 10 percent improvement in response time to customer demands
84 percent reported improvement in time spent searching for knowledge objects (employee productivity)
82 percent reported improvement in the ability to reduce risk by preventing harmful events before they occur
80 percent reported improvement in customer insight ("view of the customer")

To access a free, electronic copy of the report, please click here.

About QL2 Software, Inc.
QL2 Software is the leading provider of Market Intelligence On Demand that powers Business Intelligence, Competitive Intelligence, enterprise search, and text analytics applications to deliver the data that drives the business of more than 230 companies in 34 countries. QL2 was named to KM World's "Top 100 Companies" and "Trend-Setting Products of 2006" in addition to placing high on the list of Fastest Growing Private Companies by the Puget Sound Business Journal for two consecutive years. QL2 Software is on the Internet at http://www.QL2.com.

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Gerry Van Zandt
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