Today, businesses are in a state of information overload. The huge growth of unstructured information makes it very difficult to make the right information accessible. Information and knowledge tend to be stored in separate silos that are hard to access, rarely shared and it is hard to even know what already exists. The challenge is not finding information, it’s discovering the golden signals that are buried in all the noise.
That being said, there is also an enormous source of opportunity for those with the tools and solutions to take advantage of them. The question is, how do we get access to the information that is relevant and useful for our organizations?
Organizing and structuring content, especially when it’s collecting market and competitive intelligence data, can be an overwhelming task for any employee. Organizations, therefore, need some kind of automated technology tool to help them handle the volumes of information.
Market and competitive intelligence professionals should use technology tools to automatically filter and classify content into relevant topics. This will help them navigate and find early warning signals quicker.
It’s also one of the main reasons why Intelligence2day® users opt to use the platform to help them automate retrieval and classification of information and allow them to make better business decisions.
This is because employees need to be able to access information easily and effectively, and that starts with the right organizational tactics from the get-go. But the problem is that market and competitive intelligence content isn’t structured neatly like in a database, and it doesn’t follow any rules, as it’s found from various and multiple sources across the internet. What’s more, is that information that’s not relevant could lead to miscommunication, speculation and ultimately lead businesses down paths they need not be on.
There really is a huge difference between structured and unstructured data, so much so that it could mean making or breaking a business.
Well, when content isn’t filtered correctly, and there isn’t software in place that organizes it in the right way, there’s a lot that could go wrong. Let’s briefly discuss a few examples of unstructured data and semi-structured data issues.
1. Duplicates. When the same news keeps circulating, time can be wasted reading and sifting through information that has already been communicated and noted. Having a system that can recognize whether someone has received this information already, can dramatically reduce the time spent analyzing this duplicated information.
2. Fake news. Reliable sources are an important part when searching for meaningful and relevant content. The internet is a big place, and there are plenty of sources that aren’t credible, aimed for clickbait, or simply created to spread rumours and ruffle up feathers. Businesses need to be fed credible information, from reliable sources that can be trusted. Therefore, they can rest assured that the decisions made from this information are in the business’s better interest.
3. Information overload. While the human brain can handle large amounts of information on a daily basis, detailed information that is based on opinions, or even trying to find the right information in a very specific place, can result in information overload. Hours and days spent sifting through information in hope to find the right ones, can cost companies large amounts of revenue each year.
These are just a few ways unstructured content can cause issues, and that filtering can easily solve. What’s more, is that when the wrong information is highlighted or stumbled across, it can also lead to miscommunication and misidentification of predictions.
A great example that comes to mind was the 2010 US stock market crash. According to the Investment Company Institute, at the end of October 2010, investors had pulled out $5.4 billion in mutual funds, and a total of $80 million had been pulled out in less than half a year. But why?
At the end of the day, what it all came down to was too much fear, too much information and too much opinion. The president and portfolio manager of Marketfield, Michael Aronstein, said this was due to the fact that the content was extremely misleading and not particularly accurate in giving a snapshot of economic activity. When presented with this information, people were not equipped to judge which were valid opinions, especially because all opinions sounded plausible.
But it perhaps wasn’t the overload that was the problem, but instead, it was simply a filter failure. The technology of screening significant information, in this case particularly, was not highlighted, and rapid sources of information and opinions spiralled out of control.
“It’s more than important to filter content and organize it in ways that are automatic and streamlined. Our clients know this as they’ve experienced many of the issues that can occur when content isn’t structured, and won’t make the same mistake again.” – Jesper Martell, CEO of Comintelli
Without highly organized information systems, businesses might also suffer from communication breakdown, poor decision making, trouble onboarding staff or even falling behind trends.
The Market & Competitive Intelligence platform Intelligence2day® acts as a complete filter for automatically screening large volumes of information, prioritizing what’s important and what’s not. This makes information much more organized and searchable, not to mention significantly reduces time, and as a result, saves companies a large portion of time and revenue that would have been previously wasted.
Intelligence2day® includes a classification engine system that automatically sorts incoming information into topics that match what the company or individual user is interested in, whether it’s external sources, research projects, websites, news, blogs or internal sources such as emails or shared folders.
The best way to filter sources is to begin with an independent selection of high-quality sources. Secondly, information needs to be filtered out by the system with the content retrial of different sources and an automatic classification engine (like Intelligence2day®). Lastly, it’s important to filter content by the individual user with a search engine, topic maps, navigation and alerts that are specific to them.
It should be broken down in five simple steps.
5 steps to filtering out noise within big data
1. Source selection: Begin with source selection by a controlled intake of high-quality sources from the get-go.
2. Content retrieval: Block and filter unwanted content at an early stage.
3. Classification engine: Structure multiple topics in two different ways; a) automatically filtering by technology, and/or b) manually reviewing (if needed).
4. Search by topic: Combine topics together to refine search results.
5. Search by free text: Find information within a topic or combination of topics.
Below shows how our Intelligence2day® structures and filters relevant content tailored to your search.
Here the user is specifically looking for the key intelligence topics on COVID-19 in Europe, and any sales information or trends that have arisen because of it. This relevant information is displayed in seconds on the Intelligence2day® platform.
But it doesn’t stop there. An important part of filtering content is evaluating it too. Fact-checking and verifying your intelligence input is an important step that should not be missed.
Here are 6 ways to evaluate information:
Do the facts add up? Look for information in which you can verify the credibility of the source, such as names, places, numbers and documents.
Where did this source come from, and can it be trusted? Make sure to trace down who has created this information in any shape or form. This could be authors, publishers, funders, aggregators or even social media users.
Is there a wider picture to consider? Assess whether this might be only a particular part of an entire story and that there may be other forces surrounding it. Look for things like current events, cultural trends, political goals and financial pressures.
Who is the intended audience? Look for attempts to appeal to specific groups or audiences. You can assess this by looking at the image choices, presentation techniques, language and of course, the actual content.
Why was this made? There is always a motivation behind a piece of information. Look for the publisher’s mission, persuasive language or images, money-making tactics and stated or unstated agendas, as well as any call-to-actions.
How is this information presented? The way in which information is created can impact its reliability. Look at the style, grammar, tone, images, and layout.
A key benefit of automatic classification is that it allows organizations to go through large amounts of information without spending days filtering, searching and analyzing the information manually. It’s a huge time (and money) saver.
Market and Competitive Intelligence systems are crucial to the survival of businesses globally, allowing them to be prepared for disruptions. This is especially true in businesses like telecommunications, pharmaceuticals, finance or the oil and gas industry. Employees need high-quality information to be able to conclude plans of action. And there is a huge difference between media monitoring and an actionable intelligence platform like Intelligence2day® – the difference being quality over quantity.
In closing, many information challenges can be easily avoided when organizations have the right tools available using automatic classification and filtering.
When organized information is structured and in a machine-readable form, it lays the groundwork for more advanced AI-enabled systems and other digital transformation initiatives in the future.