How to Increase Operational Efficiency with OCR AutomationMore and more, organizations are realizing that they need to leverage their unstructured data to uncover key business insights. However, the exceptional increase in the volume and variety of data throughout the past few years shows no sign of stopping. In the face of this rising tide, organizations are often unprepared to follow the necessary data management best practices that will help them efficiently process and analyze their data. Rather than being able to identify the insights they need, they end up drowning in unstructured data and losing out to more digitally savvy competitors.

The data management trends that are emerging as the top drivers of change demonstrate that organizations are beginning to recognize the impact of unstructured data on their day-to-day operations, from compliance to business risk to customer experience. This means that you need to be prepared to clean up your act—and your data—to stay ahead.

Here are the four top data management trends in 2018—and what your organization needs to do about them.

1. Data lakes are turning into data swamps

Data lakes were intended to act as storage repositories for vast volumes of unstructured data. However, rather than being the data analytics solution of your dreams, data lakes are now more like data swamps. This data varies in structure and format and lacks the appropriate metadata and classification. Consequently, rather than removing silos, data lakes have created one more source of confusion—leaving organizations floundering in the morass of data.

Without any kind of cohesive system or classification, it’s impossible to extract value from your stored data and leverage data management best practices to your advantage. To address this issue, companies need to put new systems in place to classify their data as it comes in. Ideally, this automated system would look at the structure of specific datasets and compare them to policy and compliance requirements. It would then give this content a pass or fail grade, and the data would be relayed to the appropriate stakeholders who could take steps to remedy it.

2. Systems of record are not aligning with data processes

In 2018, the division between the way information is stored and the way it’s used is becoming wider. There’s an increasing divide between what the end user needs to see from your data and how data is being added to the storage systems being used.

Improperly applied access controls can also hinder organizations from being able to run data analytics effectively.

To resolve these issues, organizations need to ensure that their documents are properly labeled and usable at every step of the way and that employees have the proper application processing guidelines and permissions to keep your datasets clean. File analytics systems can also help elevate your data. By linking related documents through their metadata, organizations can instantly see all of the data associated with a particular client or topic.

3. The demand for unified insights is greater than ever

The competitive pressure that today’s organizations face means that there’s an unprecedented demand for accessible data that can be turned into useable business insights. To remain competitive in a “born digital” world, more traditional organizations need to begin better organizing and classifying data. Adopting this document management trend will help them generate detailed, unified insight into clients at every step of the customer journey—facilitating a more efficient, satisfying customer experience.

The General Data Protection Regulation (GDPR) is also forcing organizations to take greater steps to protect Personally Identifiable Information (PII) in order to remain compliant. With its inception this May 2018, companies will have to take measures to protect their customers’ PII and redact it from documents and files that are not secure. Since organizations need to know which documents contain PII in order to take the appropriate protective measures, this will also give them the chance to uncover other data locked in that content that they might not have known existed before this analysis.

4. Noise continues to increase

Between social media, computing power, and online data banks, the amount of data available to your organization will continue to skyrocket throughout the next few years. Although this may initially seem like a good thing—more data means more useful insights, right?—this isn’t necessarily the case. The ratio between useless and useful is increasingly skewed towards redundant, obsolete, and trivial (ROT) data, meaning that organizations have to spend more and more time sifting through unusable data to find the intelligence they need.

Organizations who haven’t yet begun to notice the increase in ROT data within their file systems soon will. This means that the sooner you start elevating your files and documents, the better, so that you can start building reliable systems of insight and escaping the data noise.

Wrap Up

The data management trends we’re seeing today revolve primarily around leveraging unstructured data and transforming it into actionable, useful insights. Whether you want to eliminate ROT, reduce risk, or run further analysis, you can use your unstructured data to keep your competitive edge.

With the rollout of GDPR still looming on the horizon, compliance and protecting PII is also a big concern. Overall, to keep up with the top data management trends in 2018, organizations need to focus on cleaning and standardizing their data to turn it into a useful source of business insight.