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Firms fail to unlock value of unstructured data

Antony Savvas

European firms are failing to unlock the value of unstructured content in their organisations.

According to a survey of 530 leading European enterprises conducted by Oracle, two-thirds of senior IT decision makers across Western Europe claim to have unstructured data adequately managed, or are making significant inroads to do so (43%).

But this is countered by the fact that when it comes to making decisions, 60% admitted to either having too much information, or that the information they needed to make decisions was buried in irrelevant data.

The understanding of the term "unstructured content" was also widely misunderstood among leading enterprises surveyed in Belgium, France, Germany, Netherlands, Spain, Switzerland and the UK.

But in the UK, the understanding of the term "unstructured data" was higher than many European rivals, with only 16% of respondents unfamiliar with the term.

However, of all those that claim to understand the term, it appears that many have adopted a piecemeal approach to content management, said Oracle, with the average number of content management systems per organisation being 4.28.

More than half (58%) were now looking towards a consolidation plan to deliver post-implementation strategic value. This raises the question as to whether European organisations actually understand that unstructured content is an enterprise-wide issue that requires a strategic enterprise-wide system, Oracle said.

The survey found that 63% consider e-mail as the primary source for managing unstructured content, with 86% admitting that e-mail is used as the primary source for sharing content. Surprisingly, said Oracle, e-mail is the source of information to which people are most likely to turn to when making decisions.

Javier Cabrerizo, Oracle EMEA senior director for enterprise content and collaboration services, said, "There are clearly identified barriers to successfully managing unstructured content today: email is overused for managing content, and a departmental approach to content management creates difficulties for sharing content between groups."

He said, "You don't buy five different ERP or CRM systems. Only with a single system can companies aim for a truly collaborative environment that involves and benefits all departments when it comes to unstructured data."


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