Businesses continue to struggle with unstructured data, says Sypht

Digital Transformation challenges include capture, access, use, and connection of data into business systems and processes
Businesses are struggling to extract key information from unstructured data because of legacy IT systems, according to a new survey conducted for AI-powered data company Sypht.

The survey identified Digital Transformation (DX) is failing to deliver eagerly anticipated advances in intelligent document processing, and almost half of digital decision-makers at Australian and New Zealand enterprise and government organisations have yet to commence their DX journey.
The survey found more than two-thirds (70%) of businesses report that some unstructured data is kept in original format which remains siloed or lost in email, printed documents and PDFs, and never digitally extracted for use in multiple information systems.
The research, conducted in May by IDM and included 125 participants across 25 industries, also revealed the most popular use of data capture was in accounts payable systems to process invoices, with more than two-thirds (67%) of businesses using it in some form.
“The results of the survey tell us about how far along the path of digital transformation organisations currently are, and how they are evaluating the progress and success of their initiatives – we can conclude that organisations are struggling to cope with rising volumes of unstructured data,” said Warren Billington, CEO of Sypht.
"By 2025, the rate of growth of data will be the equivalent to a new Google every four days – and 80% of that data is unstructured for enterprises. We see that as being a real challenge for organisations today in terms of being able to capture, access, use, and connect that data and those insights into their business systems and processes. That means businesses are making decisions on only 20% of their data.
“Our mission at Sypht is to unlock value in organisations' hidden information by using machine learning to automatically extract and interpret key data, making it immediately available to power key decisions. We make AI simple through easily testing, evaluating and integrating the technology.”
Many businesses are undergoing DX journeys focused on areas such as cloud-based storage, online collaboration tools, and enterprise content management. However, the survey found significant gaps exist between DX desire and reality. AI-based automatic classification was cited as the most-wanted aspect of DX by 55% of respondents yet only 22% said it was being delivered. There was also a wide disparity between content/text analysis capabilities: 43% wanted it but only 29% said it was being delivered.
Many older systems still rely on templatised legacy software that scans data using optical character recognition technology rather than using machine learning that can improve results continuously over time. However, cloud-based technology is now making it far easier to test, evaluate and integrate AI-based systems that can deliver faster, more accurate results.
“Those business that can automate processes can cut operational costs while delivering growth opportunities through new data and insights,” said Billington. "If businesses don't get this right and they continue to use legacy technology that's not performing, it will remain a significant cost and slow down the whole digital transformation journey for customers.”
While the survey found most businesses (80%) are still tackling DX at an organisation-wide level, the current recession may change that. It has created new pressure for businesses to quickly demonstrate a ROI against specific use cases, bolstering the business case for a broader DX implementation.
Part of the change requires acknowledging that it is now possible to trial new agile solutions and test them against existing ways of working more quickly than ever before. "We can get a proof of concept implemented within a three-to-four-week period, which allows them to address frictions such as manual processing or inefficiency and deliver business value and ROI very quickly," concluded Billington.