From an article entitled Turning Unstructured Data into Gold in CRM News:
The WWW changed everything. Information previously available only through complex search query languages offered by expensive commercial content providers like Dialog, Lexis-Nexis and Computer Select became readily available — for free — through sites like Hoover’s, according to Guy Creese of Aberdeen Group. Employees began to press companies for the same kind of easy access to internal data through corporate intranets.
“We should thank two companies: Google and Autonomy,” said Creese. Each of those firms changed the way we think about searching unstructured data, he asserted. Google popularized and improved search techniques, and Autonomy made effective information categorization possible.
It was not long before enterprises realized that one of the most profitable ways to put unstructured data to work was in support of customer service — be it self-service , e-mail or telephone support. Companies can realize enormous cost savings by allowing fast access to crucial information, said Nidal Haddad of Deloitte Consulting.
Creese said that the traditional demarcation between structured data — stored in databases — and unstructured data is beginning to blur. Thus, the search tools used to access information must be able to accommodate both.