On the one hand the information on hand provides a huge opportunity to know and understand customers better and, therefore, sell and serve more effectively. But on the other hand, unstructured data has traditionally been notoriously difficult to analyse. As such, turning it into actionable business intelligence is also difficult. For instance, think of the thousands of e-mails that a large company’s sales or customer service operation typically receives every week. In it there will be feedback on prices, the usability of the website, opinions on competitors and a huge amount of information on customer buying preferences. The trouble is that no two e-mails are the same. The data collected is not only random (to some extent) but also hidden within text. The question is, how do you extract what you need? It’s a major challenge.
But it’s one that should be addressed. Think for a moment of the wealth of data sources and what they offer. Continue reading