Unstructured Data: Untapped Fuel for Innovation

Data is fuel for innovation. It can give agencies incredible insights about everything from their mission wins to how their products and services help the public. Just one of these revelations can produce the spark agencies need for creative, game-changing solutions.

But many agencies do not see the full scope of the large data deposits they are sitting on. Data comes in so many forms that attempting to harness it all can perplex any agency.

One key solution is data management, said Dallas Nash, Senior Director of Sales, Unstructured Data Solutions at Dell Technologies, a technology and information security solutions provider.

Nash shared three ways agencies can craft data management strategies that drive powerful innovation.

1. Understand Data Structures

Typically, data comes in two forms: structured and unstructured. Structured data fits a predefined format, such as the rows and columns of a traditional database. Unstructured data does not, often involving video, audio, images or text.

Devices such as smartphones are producing more data than ever and this rapid growth is overwhelming agencies that cannot organize their data cleanly and rapidly, Nash said.

“Storage systems are having an exorbitant amount of pressure put on them because of this data increase,” he said. “This data growth is most focused around unstructured data.”

2. Scrap Data Siloing

At many agencies, data hides in silos established by different teams. Cut off from the entire agency, this information may ultimately benefit no one.

“Stop siloing data,” Nash said. “The value to your organization is locked up in that data. Most of the most important data exists on the edge of the network.”

Tools such as those that Dell Technologies provides can help agencies get a grip on their unstructured and structured data through data lakes. Data lakes store information in a single raw format, letting agencies access and structure it however they like.

“We need to be more proactive,” Nash said of how agencies use data. “Don’t manage your data like it’s 1999. Data lakes break down these individual silos.”

3. Modernize Data Interpretation

Data lakes are only the first part of strong data management; data analytics are the other piece of the puzzle. Through data analytics, agencies can find, assess and share any patterns they encounter in their information.

“It will help with the customers’ understanding of where that data rests,” Nash said. “Go to a single, scale-out vendor where you can get all that data into a data lake and run analytics against it.”

Over time, data analytics tools shed light on the innovative business ideas agencies might have otherwise missed.

“That’s where the rubber really meets the road for some of our customers,” Nash said.

This article is an excerpt from GovLoop’s recent guide, “Reinventing Government: 20 Innovations for 2020.” Download the full guide here.

Leave a Comment

Leave a comment

Leave a Reply