IBM Systems Magazine, Mainframe - May/June 2014 - (Page 18)

CURRENTS The Importance of UNSTRUCTURED DATA Figuring out the questions to be answered simplifies the search for information within the data A s the use and growth of unstructured data continues to increase, organizations are striving to find a way to manage it successfully, benefiting the business and customers. Valerie Dennis is managing editor of IBM Systems Magazine, Mainframe edition. Unlike structured data (e.g., a database or table), which can be clearly defined in terms of its meaning, unstructured data has no firm reference points. Its irregularity and ambiguity make it difficult to define and understand. Textual data (i.e., texts, emails, collaboration software and social media), non-textual data (i.e., photos, videos and audio files) and machine/sensor data (i.e., location information and footage from security cameras) offer a wealth of information that can help organizations conduct business more efficiently. The challenge is finding a way to use all of this data to produce results. According to IBM estimates, 90 percent of the world's data has been generated in the past two 18 // MAY/JUNE 2014 years, and 80 percent of new data is unstructured, growing at twice the rate of structured data. It's expected that 40 ZB of data will be created by 2020-300 times the amount in 2005. With the pace of information accelerating, it's worth a company's time to learn how to extract and leverage this information. Companies that lack a current and accurate picture could compromise money, time, quality, security or growth. Better Ways to Search Part of the challenge with unstructured data is figuring out what is being presented in the data, says Scott Spangler, principal data scientist at IBM Almaden Research Center and author of "Mining the Talk: Unlocking the Business Value in Unstructured Information." Finding the information is not as simple as performing a search and retrieving a document. "Oftentimes, you do not know what to search for," he says. "You need a process that will help you understand the right questions to ask, and that will be able to tell, in aggregate, here is what the data is telling you is the most likely choice you should make." Spangler notes that innovation is becoming more difficult, and although research is at the same pace it was 20 to 30 years ago, it is not keeping up with the changing world. The solution is better research and using new ways to mine the data. "It becomes clear that problems we used to think of as being just too hard to solve,

Table of Contents for the Digital Edition of IBM Systems Magazine, Mainframe - May/June 2014

Table of Contents
Editor's Desk: Looking to the cloud for support
Techbits: Calling Ugandan Government
Partner PoV: With the right approach mainframers can improve the application environment to better position themselves for the future
Trends: Partnerships with MSPs allows more companies to be on the platform than ever before
Currents: Figuring out the questions to be answered simplified the search for information within unstructured data
R&D: Science and serendipity meet at the IBM Accelerated Discovery Lab
Case Study: Good Medicine: SinfoniaRx improves patient services by moving to a zEnterprise 114 Enterprise Linux Server
Cover Story: A Cloud In A Box: Enterprise Cloud System is IBM's first converged mainframe offering
Feature: Reliability Amid Change: Develop cloud applications and meet consumer expectations with the IBM CICS V5.2 application server
Tech Showcase: Why enterprises are considering cloud
Administrator: In addition to increasing raw speed and feed, software can provide information directly to the System z microprocessor
Tech Corner: Flash Express provides increased system availability and resiliency during peak demand
Solutions: Accelerator for .NET 4.3; Ivory Data Hub v5.2.0; Savvytest 2.0 for z/OS; zHISR 2.0; Ivory Service Architect; SpaceFinder
Stop Run: Community orchestra inspires IBM data scientist Scott Spangler in work and life
Reference Point - Global Events, Education, Resources for Mainframe
Special Report: Big Data's Competitive Advantage
Special Report: IBM Global Training
2014 Mainframe Solutions Edition Product Index

IBM Systems Magazine, Mainframe - May/June 2014