LAS VEGAS: Over 80 per cent of all information entering organisations is unstructured data in the form of video, email and text, IBM said at its Information on Demand conference today.
Steve Mills, senior vice president and group executive for software and systems at IBM, said that this explosion of data must be understood and managed correctly if it is to provide any benefits.
"The big challenge is dealing with massive quantities of data, much of it unstructured, from, say, social networks, and using that data to understand crowd sentiments and reactions, and to know customers better," he said.
"The web and today's interconnected environments provide that opportunity, but it needs the ability to handle that unstructured data in real time and draw out the information embedded within."
Mills added that the rise in video is particularly important, since it can only have benefits if companies are able to sift, sort and integrate the data.
This growth of data will only increase, and Mills reiterated IBM's prediction that there will be 35 zettabytes of data in the world by 2020. A zettabyte is equal to one billion terabytes.
"It's all about scalability - the ability to manage data in the terabytes, petabytes and exabytes - and we are fast on our way to zettabytes. Maybe not immediately, but it's on the way," he said.
Frank Kern, senior vice president of global business services at IBM, also repeated this message, and called on enterprises to tackle the data explosion head on to improve their position in the market.
"Leading businesses are taking a rigorous approach to analytics, as what is happening at the moment is an opportunity not a threat," he said.
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