Data is never waste, whatever the form it is in. Of course it is waste if it is not being analysed, and if it is not a part of the decision-making process. Now whether it be structured, semi-structured or unstructured data, there is value in the data.
If you look at a lot of unstructured data... I would kind of blend semi-structured and unstructured data, which have always been a little harder to analyse. So when we look at unstructured content, the reason why it has been hard to analyse is because when there is no structure to it, how do you put it in the world of databases, which is all about rows and columns and a very strict, extremely structured world? If data doesn't fit in that model of 'here is a name, here is an address, and here is the zip code', and every piece of information that you get, these are the three pieces of information that are extracted and put in a database.
But now, when we look at the fact that there is unstructured contents coming in, from which maybe we are still looking for name, address and zip code, but if there is more information there, like not just the name of the customer but information maybe about their other relationships that might exist, which we haven't gleaned, which we now can glean from this data, it may show what their other interests are, what their buying patterns are: where do they shop, are they triggered by promotions or not?
I mean, there is a lot of information that can be gleaned now which may not be captured in just the name and the address. That has been sort of the traditional mailing lists that businesses would have. It would be: 'Here's the name, here's the address and this is the coupon that you send to everybody on this mailing list,' without taking into account what they really care about.
So now, with a lot of unstructured and semi-structured data, that can be analysed. Businesses can figure out what is relevant for them, so that they can be serviced based on what they care about. And I think that's why it's important to not just discard the semi-structured or unstructured content, because there is information that can be gleaned from it. And now we have the technology so that we can extract information from a lot of this semi-structured and unstructured content.
Text analytics is suddenly... It's been around forever, but now it's sort of reaching the place where it has found a very good problem that it can solve, because of the social media, and because of technologies that make it easy to bring in all this data quickly and analyse it. Information can be extracted from this, it can be correlated with the information that may already be there in your structured world, and suddenly now you get more data points or more information. Because you have extracted information from unstructured data, you already have information from structured data, you correlate, and now you know more about whatever it is: it could be customers, it could be your subscribers, it could be your patients, whoever the user might be.