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Big Data: It’s coming, like it or not.

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Big Data: It’s coming, like it or not.

An interview with Kon Leong, co-founder, president and chief executive of ZL Technologies.

PCEO: Perhaps to start, maybe you could give us your insights on the use of Big Data for personal reasons with respect to employees, as opposed to finding out what the customer thinks. 

Kon Leong:  For the last five decades we’ve been focusing on enterprise data, a certain kind of stuff that’s spit out by machines - the so-called “Structured Data” - the stuff you see in SAP, in the ERP software, in PeopleSoft, that kind of stuff, the stuff that runs enterprises.

It's the fact that all of the unstructured data is originated by humans for humans...and if you apply analytics to that treasure trove of information, you now get a sense of what the human side of the organization thinks and feels and what they are doing.

That’s on the structured side though, the stuff that fits into nice little columns of 0s and 1s and so on.  But on the unstructured, “dark side" of the universe, if you will, all the text, the messy stuff, we didn’t know what to do with, because the technology wasn’t there for all of these last five decades.  Until recently, the amount of it just accumulated, exacerbated by the advent of word processors first, and then email, and then social media.

So that exploded, and it’s typically five times the volume of the structured data side.  It started causing problems in the sense that things started cropping up, like compliance guys who started asking for that information, followed by the lawyers and the court, and now records management has to deal with unstructured data.  It's all in digital form, but most organizations have no way to deal with it. So all of these pains started to surface, and for the last 10 years, basically the marketplace has focused on bringing solutions to handle eDiscovery compliance, records and so forth.

There is one curious underpinning about all of this data that's unstructured, and that's the part I think that's most relevant to our conversation:

It's the fact that all of the unstructured data is originated by humans for humans, as opposed to the other side, which is mostly machine-generated. And if you apply analytics to that treasure trove of information, you now get a sense of what the human side of the organization thinks and feels and what they are doing.

If you subscribe to the axiom that it's humans that run the organization, not machines, then that is the big payoff, the big payload.

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