Imagine What You Can Do…An Introduction To AI & Unstructured Data


Welcome! I appreciate you taking the time to hear my thoughts on how to evolve your company into what it can become next. We’ll review innovative ideas for the corporate visionaries aiming to generate a Giant Leap for your business and taking the lead in your industry.

This will be a continuing series on how to combine the uses of Artificial Intelligence, Natural Language Processing, Robotic Process Automation and Text Analytics against an enormous volume of data you didn’t even know you had, Unstructured Data. The field is called Content Analytics.

A little about my background…I’ve been in Technology for about 40 years. I started out working in the computer room of a bank as a teenager and was developing software for Equifax before I was 20. Throughout my 20s I was with Verizon as a Software Developer and Architect in which I specialized in early forms of Robotic Process Automation. During that time I was attaining my certification as a Software Development instructor for the U.S. Department of Defense, eventually teaching at multiple military installations including Pearl Harbor. For the past 25 years I’ve been a Chief Technology Officer and Chief Information Officer working with investor groups to launch and dramatically grow technology companies. This includes in the industries of financial services, mobile communications, data center management, logistics, digital advertising and psychological sciences. These endeavors have provided me a very broad perspective on business and technology. I’ve been through multiple successful Exits including with T-Mobile and Fidelity. I’m now CEO of Scion Analytics, a company that specializes in platforms and services in the field of Content Analytics.

Did You Know That You Probably Lack Access To 80% Of Your Organization’s Data?

The world commonly thinks of their data as that which resides in the database of their systems-of-record. This includes systems for ERP, CRM, Marketing, Customer Service, Human Resources and in IT. Fact is, the vast majority of your data is in Unstructured form; Word documents, PDFs, Powerpoint decks, Excel files, Emails, geo-spatial data, sensor data, images, voice messages and even videos. What company doesn’t have a shared drive with thousands, perhaps tens of thousands, of files that accumulated over the years? It could be an internal mapped drive or Sharepoint, OneDrive, Google Drive or Dropbox. As a former CIO of 20 years I know we all have these.

Whether you are a CEO setting your over-arching business plan, a COO trying to optimize your operations, a CIO executing on Technology Strategy, the CFO developing a Financial Plan or the Chief Marketing Officer attempting to divine messages from marketing content, the desire is to always make decisions and take action based on data. However, a decision or action based on incomplete data is a significant risk to your business and prevents you from attaining that next step in your company’s evolution.

Imagine What You Can Do If You Get Access To All Of That Data Then Could Act On It

Your company could quickly and effectively ingest large complex legal documents. Work initiated from those documents could be automatically analyzed and distributed throughout your workforce. Finally, you could speak the same language as your customers, partners and vendors by using Artificial Intelligence and Natural Language Processing to respond and integrate.

But how to get at it? By its’ very nature Unstructured Data is hard to get to, difficult to understand, labor-intensive to index and structure and then to report on it. This is where Content Analytics and other technologies can be brought to bear.

Take an analysis in a Word document full of text, one of the most common forms of Unstructured Data. It may have many data-points that could inform strategy or document past decisions. Unfortunately, someone would have to read that document and extract the applicable data-points and input those into other systems for further processing. You could do that once but weeks, months, or years from now you may need access to that analysis again. By then it could be buried in a file-share containing 50,000 files. Worse yet, the source analysis may have been edited into another document or version. Not only is it hard to find the data you need, buried in files you can’t find, but which version is the right one? That can be a lost cause.

The first step in accessing this valuable data is “reading” it, virtually. Simply said, this is parsing the text based on the rules of grammar for whatever language the document is written in. As text is parsed Text Analytics technology transforms the text into structured data. Natural Language Processing technology generates the needed metadata and understanding. It can then be processed via other methods of Artificial Intelligence or Machine Learning algorithms for decision-making.

As you can see, it can be a very complex process to access your Unstructured Data but the value is certainly there.

Over the coming months I’ll be writing about the possibilities of Content Analytics, how to innovate with it, the various perspectives across an organization as well as cover specific use-cases. I welcome you connecting with me and providing your perspective.


James R. Eddy, CEO of Scion Analytics

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