Blending Structured and Unstructured Data

Converting your data into an asset begins with a conversation and ends with true business discovery.

When considering an organization’s assets, a person would likely begin to build a list that includes Cash, Accounts Receivables, Inventory, and so on - eventually listing most chapters of an Accounting 101 textbook. However, in today’s competitive market I would consider data to be an undervalued intangible asset, sitting very high on that list. Just like the standard assets listed, a company cannot optimally benefit from just possessing an asset, there needs to be a strategy at play. Cash requires appropriate investing, Account Receivables to be collected, and Data needs to be strategically managed.

Generally data is identified as either being Structured or Unstructured. Structured is data secured in a database or flat file format; Access, SQL Server, csv, CRMs and ERPs to name a few. Unstructured data is just that, data that lives outside the confines of easily accessible formats and is often hard to aggregate or summarize as a whole; emails, slide decks, PDFs and Word docs. A component of strategic data management is finding opportunities to blend these two types of data creating high valued assets.

Claim Document

At this year’s Qlik Qonnections Global Partner Summit I will be presenting this concept through the use of Alteryx and QlikView. The case study (encouraged by coverage of President Obamas’ announcement of normalizing relations between the US and Cuba) focuses on historical claims data from the Foreign Claims Settlement Commission (FCSC) of the US. These are claims by US entities (citizens and corporations) who held assets within Cuba prior to hindered relations. Similar to organizational data, the Cuban claims data includes structured tables and high level summaries along with detailed claims documents. The claims documents were actually typed using typewriters (for those at a loss http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Typewriter), scanned and made available to the public by the FCSC. QlikView’s associative data modeling combined with Alteryx’s ability to create advanced data blending workflows enables these historic documents to come to life, and tell some truly interesting stores.

Through the ordinary course of business, interesting stories can convert into truly valuable intelligence. An insurance company can create a process which identifies claims containing specific text narratives through unstructured analytics and tie to structured client coverage data indicating likelihood of fraud. A manufacturing company can identify risk for recall by analyzing unstructured consumer complaint call logs and blending with customer purchase data. QlikView’s advanced data visualizations enable users to identify trends and adjust Alteryx workflows to reflect derived insight. 


Alteryx Workflow

Converting your data into an asset begins with a conversation and ends with true business discovery.

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