How to transform unstructured data into actionable insights to propel growth:
Every interaction, every business transaction, and every digital touchpoint generates data that is rich in detail but complex in structure.

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The data we generate today is vast and varied. Beyond the neat rows and columns of traditional databases lies a sprawling landscape of unstructured data — and businesses are struggling to keep up.

Over 50% of enterprises manage at least five petabytes (PB) of data, per Komprise, and at minimum, 80% of that data is unstructured. According to Gartner, “By 2028, large enterprises will triple their unstructured data capacity across their on-premises, edge, and public cloud locations compared to mid-2023.”

Emails, images, videos, and social media content are just the tip of the iceberg. Sensor data from millions of IoT devices, logs from servers, and transcripts from customer service calls all contribute to this growing mass of unstructured data.

Every interaction, every business transaction, and every digital touchpoint generates data that is rich in detail but complex in structure. Yet, this data is the secret to helping organizations acquire a greater understanding of their operations, customers, and potential new business models.

The significance of unstructured data

The true potential of unstructured data lies in its depth and detail.

It offers a nuanced view of customer attitudes, operational bottlenecks, and market trends that structured data often fails to capture. For instance, while structured data might tell you how many people visited your website, unstructured data can reveal why they visited, what content they engaged with the most, and the sentiment behind their feedback.

Unstructured data leads to more innovative and engaging customer experiences. By analyzing customer interactions and feedback across various channels, you can create personalized experiences that resonate on an individual level. This degree of personalization and understanding can transform customer satisfaction and loyalty, turning casual users into brand advocates.

In essence, unstructured data is pivotal to creating a more dynamic and responsive business model. It’s not just about collecting data — it’s about transforming it into actionable insights that can propel growth, operational efficiency, and customer engagement. The organizations that can do this effectively will not only stay ahead of the curve but also set new standards for what it means to be truly data-driven.

Unstructured data fueling innovation across industries

The benefits of unstructured data stand out in real-world applications.

In healthcare, the impact of unstructured data analysis is life-changing. We use AI technologies to delve into medical records, doctor’s notes, and clinical data to help medical professionals determine patient treatment options.

Retailers analyze customer reviews and social media posts to create tailored shopping experiences that drive loyalty and sales. Financial institutions examine unstructured data from regulatory documents and transaction logs to help them combat fraud and design services to meet unique customer needs.

These examples only scratch the surface of what’s possible when companies unlock insights from unstructured data across documents, images, video, sensor data, and more. With revolutionary advances in artificial intelligence (AI) and machine learning (ML), nearly every industry has the potential to put unstructured data analytics to work, for everything from improving customer experiences to developing cutting-edge technologies.

Yet, as the quantity of unstructured data swells, so does the need for storage solutions that can accommodate this volume and make sense of it.

The storage conundrum

Traditional storage systems are buckling under the pressure, and the need for innovative solutions that can embrace the complexity of unstructured data is more pressing than ever.

In sectors like healthcare, where access to patient data can be a matter of life and death, the need for immediate and reliable data retrieval is non-negotiable. Similarly, urban infrastructures depend on the swift processing of data, such as video footage, for efficient traffic management.

For IT professionals, the challenge is to architect storage solutions that are not only robust but also agile enough to unlock the full potential of unstructured data. This involves a strategic blend of scalability, performance, and compliance:


Storage must grow with the data. Cloud storage and storage as a service (STaaS) offer virtually limitless capacity, allowing organizations to expand their storage resources with their data growth. STaaS provides a flexible and cost-effective model, enabling organizations to pay for only the storage they use, often with the ability to scale up on demand.


The advent of solid-state drives (SSDs) and non-volatile memory express (NVMe) technology has revolutionized data access speeds, significantly reducing latency. Edge storage solutions further enhance performance by processing data closer to its source, thus accelerating response times for time-sensitive applications.

Security and compliance

Hybrid cloud storage solutions combine the best of both worlds, providing the flexibility of the cloud while maintaining the security protocols of on-premises storage, which is crucial for compliance with stringent data protection regulations.

Cloud storage options from giants like Amazon Web Services, Google Cloud, and Microsoft Azure offer scalable and secure platforms, while software-defined storage (SDS) systems provide a more adaptable infrastructure that can grow with an organization’s needs.

Choosing the proper storage solution is pivotal and requires a bespoke approach that aligns with your organization’s operational demands and future growth projections.

Future-proofing with SHI’s Storage Lifecycle Success Plan

This is where SHI’s Storage Lifecycle Success Plan comes in — a purpose-built solution focused on continuously evolving your storage infrastructure to maximize the value of unstructured data across its lifecycle.

SHI’s six-step process focuses on continual evaluation, planning, optimization, and assessment to align storage with changing unstructured data needs. This includes:

  • Regular health checks to evaluate current infrastructure and objectives.
  • Ongoing capacity planning to project future storage and performance requirements.
  • Continuous adoption of the latest storage technologies and features.
  • Regular roadmap reviews to stay ahead of vendor upgrades.
  • Proactive performance reviews to identify and resolve any issues.
  • Financial modeling for informed budget planning.

With expertise across on-premises, hybrid, and cloud models, SHI can design unified solutions to securely consolidate unstructured data silos while delivering breakthrough performance, streamlined compliance, and simplified management.

Harness the power of unstructured data

The exponential growth of unstructured data presents both obstacles and immense possibilities. Yet, it’s about more than finding storage space.

To maximize this opportunity, you must adopt storage solutions that can house massive volumes of data and turn this data into actionable insights. The organizations that make these investments will thrive, while those that delay risk drowning in the immense potential of data left stranded.

Ready to tackle your data storage challenges and transform your unstructured data into actionable insights and a competitive advantage? Contact SHI today to request a storage health check and learn more about SHI’s Storage Lifecycle Success Plan.


i Gartner: Top trends in enterprise data storage 2023 Published 29 June 2023 — ID G00789370 — 22 min read By Analyst(s): Chandra Mukhyala, Julia Palmer, Jeff Vogel
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