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Structuring Unstructured Data in Contract Management

Jun 12, 2015 10:09:27 AM

Manage and Capture Your Unstructured Data!

In 2012, IDC conducted research on the digital universe in 2020. Based on the outcomes of that research, IDC esti40 fold growth.001mates the world’s information is doubling every two years. By 2020, the world will generate 40 exabytes of data, a 40-fold increase from 2010! However, almost all of the current (approx. 90%) data is considered unstructured.

What is unstructured data?

Any piece of data outside of a formal database: emails, Word documents, PDF files, spreadsheets, digital images, video, audio, social media posts—pretty much every document and correspondence your company creates or accesses. It includes data stored on shared hard drives, devices such as phones and laptops, and within collaborative tools such as SharePoint sites.

What does this mean for your company and your legal department?

In most organizations, employees create and maintain unstructured data in content silos, causing redundancy, poor communication, lack of standards, and higher costs for content creation. In addition, this content is rarely inventoried or accessible to other departments, making its use through out the organization almost impossible.

To be able to use these vast amounts of unstructured data, the way organizations capture, store, analyze, and distribute data must transform. Organizations need to figure out how to leverage all of that information to increase efficiency. And legal departments needs to figure out how to manage, access, and utilize the volumes of data associated with every negotiation and contract.

Other challenges with unstructured data are:

  1. Storage and storage and backup systems, in addition to lost productivity of using inefficient systems, are costing organizations billions of dollars every year.
  2. Unnecessary duplication of content is inefficient, and can lead to inconsistency. For example, a legal department my write the same contract clause 50 times because nobody remembered writing the clause, or more likely, they couldn’t locate it.
  3. Organizations must be able to responding to regulatory requirements quickly. For example, two sections in the Sarbanes-Oxley Act of 2002 require that companies must ensure relevant documents are maintained in electronic format for 5-7 years and must be readily available to government entities.

What is the solution?

Fortunately, technology is providing solutions to manage unstructured data. Putting a technology tool, such as ContractRoom, at the heart of the organization’s content management strategy is the key. This content management strategy should be, according to leading enterprise content management consultant Ann Roc­kley, “a repeatable method of identifying all content requirements upfront, creating consistently structured content for reuse, managing that content in a definitive source, and assembling content on demand to meet your customers’ needs.”

The products that can do that offer much more than a structured database management system. At a minimum they include versioning, retention, and archiving. They also provide electronic workflow management capabilities to end-users. A cutting-edge tool like ContractRoom goes beyond the minimal to provide a true enterprise collaboration and content management tool.

The amounts of data available give organizations more information than ever seemed conceivable. But they can only harness the power of that information—and reduce the risk of managing it—with a solid content management strategy that has, at it’s heart, a robust enterprise collaboration tool. Click here to see a demo, https://youtu.be/bdl0Lp0DfWA.

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