Very interesting cover story in the latest Businessweek that got me thinking about the concepts of structured and unstructured data analysis.
The feature is Palantir, the War on Terror's Secret Weapon and looks at the Palo Alto, CA company whose data mining software is used by a number of government agencies to flag and compile information on potential threats. The aforementioned unstructured data refers to information held not in database (structured) form, but rather in bank transactions, purchases made, videos recorded and social media postings.
What Palantir does is take in and sift through all these disparate data sets to try to provide a clear picture of what's going on... with this offering being valuable for private industry (example being banks fighting fraud) as well as government. The BW story detailing all this is an interesting piece from Ashlee Vance and Brad Stone on a fascinating topic.
This idea of unstructured data analysis is coming to the forefront in Business today with both the amount of loose data multiplying and newer and better product offerings trying to tame and make sense of said data.
Written a few days ago by Brandon Bailey for the San Jose Mercury News was HP unveils new products for sorting 'unstructured data'. The piece is around the first publicized results of HP's Autonomy acquisition and published yesterday on ZDNet UK was HP mates Autonomy with Vertica that brings in the early 2011 HP acquisition of Vertica.