Think Beyond the Archive: How to Discover Hidden Insights in Everyday Data

How to Develop An Expanded Vision for Information Sources

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In the age of the data-driven business, any transaction or interaction that can be captured and analyzed might contain a critical nugget of strategic insight. As IT leaders focus on securing and managing data to maximize its value and reveal new opportunities, they risk overlooking a gold mine: the broad and diverse data sets contained in communication and collaboration systems.

Communication and collaboration tools, both within and beyond the corporate firewall, are vital sources of institutional knowledge. They don’t just enable employees to communicate with each other, partners, and customers; they build a lasting record of those interactions that can be used to develop goals, action items, and benchmarks. They’re arguably the connective tissue holding the organization together. Therefore, IT leaders need to advocate for mining and fully leveraging the data they contain. Otherwise, their companies can’t claim to be optimizing all of the data at their disposal.

Gleaning insight from interactions

Regulatory, corporate, and privacy compliance are often the primary uses for communication and collaboration data. Monitoring it in real time helps to mitigate operational, legal, regulatory, and reputational risks. Archiving it in a tagged, sorted, easily queried form streamlines the process of classifying information, makes it easier to apply relevant storage and retention policies, and helps analysts proactively identify risk events.

However, once an organization unifies all of its electronic communications – email, social, mobile, instant messaging, and voice – the potential for using it to generate insight is limited only by the imagination of its strategic leaders. These are just a few possibilities:

Sentiment analysis. Frequently occurring phrases and even emotional tone are an invaluable source of information about how customers and the general public feel about a company’s products, customer service, reactions to events affecting the market, responses to community concerns, and more.

Human resources management. The same kind of analysis can also reveal HR opportunities such as where employees need more training or support, whose performance deserves recognition, or how they feel about specific policies and processes.

Partner and team management. Analyzing communication and collaboration data on a project can help a company gauge progress, evaluate how well employees are working with each other or with a business partner, identify current or potential conflicts, and develop a proactive intervention or remediation plan for issues as or even before they arise.

Strategic planning. By capturing and analyzing what customers are discussing with customer advocates and success teams, a company can refine existing use cases and develop new ones. These communications can also reveal emerging risks, such as potential supply chain disruptions or a shift in the nature of people’s calls, which allows the company to mitigate them or even turn them to competitive advantage.

Taking archives off the shelf

Most organizations aren’t used to thinking of communication and collaboration data as particularly valuable. They see it as something to archive (and later dispose of) for security and compliance purposes, not something worthy of strategic analysis. However, a truly data-driven company recognizes that all of its data is potentially valuable – so IT leaders must be willing to take on the responsibility of proving that communication and collaboration data is no exception.

The right technology makes it possible to capture, analyze, and operationalize the data currently locked within communication and collaboration systems. Companies should look for a data management platform that’s cloud-enabled to work with all systems, based on a scalable, services-oriented architecture to grow with the enterprise, and capable of tagging and filtering metadata to support complex queries. The platform must handle all business-critical discovery, compliance, and audit tasks, and it should include robust, secure, enterprise-class digital archiving capabilities. In addition, it should include a high-performance search tool with an advanced user interface that delivers a low-stress, error-proof user experience. And today, it’s critical that a data management platform be able to collect the diversity of data types and schema across all the collaboration and social media channels used in the enterprise, and to be able to drive search queries easily and quickly against the resultant unified pool of data.

Unlocking the value in day-to-day interactions

According to Osterman research, “Archiving is an integral component of any information governance capability and must be considered as part of an overall information governance initiative.[1] That’s a key distinction to bear in mind: it’s a piece of a larger data management lifecycle strategy. Giving users fast, rich, intuitive access to a unified store of digital communications data makes it exponentially more likely that they’ll find powerful uses for it, from improving sales strategies to identifying avoidable threats. Start by exploring big data archiving and analytics technologies that make it easier than ever to store and explore an ever-expanding volume, variety, and velocity of data. Adopt a data management platform that makes the wealth of knowledge in these daily interactions readily accessible to strategists and analysts. And then explore how all the things your employees, customers, and partners are talking about can propel you far ahead of the competition.

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[1] White Paper by Osterman Research Published June 2020 Sponsored by Micro Focus Archiving as a Key Element of Good Information


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