Is your structured content actually an unstructured challenge?
December 7, 2016
2 minute read
Recently I was talking to a customer in the Life Sciences industry, who said they wanted to find a way to handle all of their “structured” (sic) data. I asked them what kind of content was their priority, and they said things like lab test results, SMPCs, and FDA submissions.
Having worked in the content management field for a while, these kinds of documents were known to me as unstructured content – certainly not structured! So why the confusion?
The customer explained it to me like this: section 4.1 of the SMPC (a specific type of document) is always about “therapeutic indicators”. It’s like that for every single SMPC document. FDA materials are always in a certain order and contain certain sections. The information was clearly very organized, and in their mind structured, but definitely not something like the kind of information you’d have in a database.
This is when I realized that although we were talking about the same kind of content, their generally accepted use of the word structured was different from mine. The official definition of structured content addresses “kinds of data with a high level of organization, such as information in a relational database”. While this wasn’t the kind of content this customer was dealing with, they still felt their content was more structured than unstructured. And they’re not alone – many organizations feel their content is structured because they don’t fully understand the definition of unstructured content, thinking it is purely random and without order.
The truth is that almost any content that is not in a database is a kind of unstructured content – and for many organizations, this is in the range of 90% of their total content! This is the content that everyone is struggling with – and the kind that is growing exponentially. This includes forms, spreadsheets, images, CAD drawings, Word documents, etc. This kind of content holds the key to great customer experience, to smarter business decisions, to protecting personal information and meeting regulatory requirements. And this is the kind of content that Adlib can handle better than anyone else!
So whether you call your content structured, unstructured, data, information, or myxlplyx -- we’ll get to the bottom of what kind of content you really have, what it’s really called, and more importantly, how you can leverage it to improve your business.