The Different Types Of Data And How They Can Be Beneficial In Business

The definition of data is “facts and statistics collected together for reference or analysis”. So, why is something that sounds relatively simple so important? Well, the information data can provide us with can be extremely telling across the board. It can be used to track vital changes, to decipher patterns, reflect quality, and so on.

From accountancy to customer service, or even marketing, data is what can highlight which elements are going smoothly within the business, and what areas need more attention. That’s why you need to have some sort of tracking system in place across the board, to keep an eye on your annual sales, for example – is there a time of the year when you see a surge and drop in demand for particular products?

Pay attention to the data to pick up on patterns! In this blog we are going to explore types of data, examining the difference between structured and unstructured data, as well as semi-structured data. Read on to find out more.

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Structured Data

Structured data is clean and clear. It amounts to about 20% of the enterprise data out there. It is highly organized, often displayed in rows and columns within tables. Due to this, it takes up less storage space than other types of data, as it is neat and concise.

Examples of structured data include boolean data types, CHAR, TEXT, LONGTEXT, and so on. As this kind of data is usually straightforward to navigate once you have a proper grasp of it, it is great to utilize in business.

It’s also easier for AI to understand in comparison to other data types. However, there are a few downfalls to structured data, as it can be complex in terms of how the information is input and processed if you’re not familiar with it. It means you can’t so easily edit it on a whim.

Unstructured Data

When it comes to unstructured data, there are not strict formulas to follow. Most of the content you are familiar with, from video files to emails or audio are unstructured – this is why it makes up the majority of data out there. There is no set format for this kind of data and it can take up a lot more storage space vs structured data.

This data type can be harder to analyze but because it’s so broad, it’s easy to collect and accumulate. It can help businesses to better understand their clients and competitors from a more theoretical point of view, instead of clear, defining numbers.

Semi-Structured Data

Semi-structured data is a combination of both structured and unstructured data – the best of both worlds? Perhaps in some ways, as it means that it still maintains more organization than unstructured data, but it allows a little more flexibility than structured data.

Semi-structured data can be much more easy to use than other types. CSV files are a well-known example of semi-structured data but as it is not quite as organized as structured, it can be trickier to analyze at times.

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