When to Use Structured and Unstructured Data

When to Use Structured and Unstructured Data

So, how do you tell when to use structured and unstructured data? This article will answer that question by highlighting some key differences between the two. If you’re confused about the difference, you’re not alone. Many business people are as well. There are some reasons you might need to choose one over the other, so it’s crucial to understand which format will be most effective for your needs.

Structured data

Traditionally, companies leverage structured data through Excel modeling, a relatively crude form of analyzing data. However, BI tools enable businesses to generate meaningful insights based on both data types. For example, a relational database can be used to associate each purchase with a loyalty program ID. Unstructured data analysis can be used to note customer movement and produce coupons based on this information. It is essential to recognize that unstructured data is far more complex and often contains more data than structured data.

In most cases, structured data is stored in data warehouses. These data warehouses contain rigid schemas, so it costs a lot to reorganize them. Unstructured data, on the other hand, is unstructured and has no fixed structure. It includes all types of text. Text data is an excellent source of information to analyze business data and extract qualitative results. Because unstructured data is more challenging to organize, it is often saved in different formats.

Structured data is stored in standardized, machine-readable formats, while unstructured information is stored in native formats. Unlike structured data, unstructured data is challenging to keep, process, and analyze. In addition, it cannot be directly translated into a relational database. Both types of data require a different approach. If you’re trying to analyze unstructured data, you should use a combination of both. You might even have both types of data in a single system!

Unstructured data

Unstructured data is all data that is not structured in any pre-defined manner. While it may have an internal structure, it cannot be accessed or analyzed in a traditional relational database. Examples of unstructured data include images, text files, social media activity, and surveillance imagery. These data types can be found in various storage systems, such as NoSQL databases and data lakes. However, when to use unstructured data depends on context.

When used appropriately, unstructured data can give valuable insights and help businesses fill in gaps and meet customer needs. While unstructured data can be more difficult to process, machine learning is improving data technology to make the process faster and more accurate. Tools like Fuel Cycle, for example, help businesses capture insights and develop better questions that help them understand customer preferences and gain a competitive advantage. For example, companies can use unstructured data to understand the performance of their products and services.

Unstructured data is difficult to analyze because it does not lend itself to quick breakdowns. However, many analytic platforms allow you to extract information from unstructured data by mapping it into structured databases. Therefore, defining what information you need from unstructured data is vital before you begin. Furthermore, it is crucial to create explicit mapping schemas for unstructured data. Once you’ve defined your goals, you can start evaluating the data.

Semi-structured data

Semi-structured data is data with a schema, but it is often difficult to process. This data type is challenging to analyze because the schema and data are typically too tightly linked. To query semi-structured data effectively, you must first determine your desired data. You can use the schema of semi-structured data to perform the query, but if you don’t know what the data you’re looking for is, you can’t find it.

Semi-structured data can also be referred to as unstructured data. Although email content is considered unstructured data, email applications have an inherent structure, such as folders for inbox messages, draft messages, trash folders, and so on. Semi-structured data can also have a complex hierarchical structure. Some types of semi-structured data are text, images, or videos.

Emails, for example, are often sent to potential customers. The content of these emails has specific attributes, including the date, the file size, and product details. Often, these emails contain product details, such as changing prices or new product names. Spreadsheets are not considered semi-structured data because they typically consist of data already entered into pre-defined cells. But when the data is collected from an email, it is usually categorized into categories so that it can be analyzed more easily.