Risks & Rewards of Unstructured Enterprise Conversation Data
by Aware HQ
Conversation data poses a unique challenge, and opportunity, for enterprises around the globe.
Every day, organizations around the globe produce a massive amount of conversation data in the form of texts, emails, private messages and more. These conversations are unique from other types of data assets in that they are generally unstructured in nature.
What is unstructured data?
Unstructured data is information that does not fit in a traditional database (imagine an excel spreadsheet). An example of unstructured data includes text or image content.
What is at risk if you don’t understand your unstructured conversational data?
The scary fact is that 80% of enterprises have very little visibility into what’s living in their unstructured data, let alone how to manage it.
It’s simpler to catch anomalies in quantifiable behaviors that might imply insider threat behavior. Examples could be odd working hours, excessive printing or exporting of documents or rapid data encryption.
What about humans simply acting suspicious? An employee asking a coworker for access to a confidential document might be a red flag or it could be just the innocent act of her trying to get work done. But what about an employee asking twenty colleagues privately for access to confidential documents? Suddenly that’s a pattern that might be worth paying attention.
Missing that type of behavior change could cost your organization $3.86 million in expenses as a result of a data breach.
Unstructured data living in company-owned tools like email, private messages and posts carry a lot of compliance liability. It’s the reason communication data is addressed in several different regulations:
- Organizations complying with FINRA need to retain communication data for at least six years—in case there is an audit or investigation.
- Healthcare workers who share patient information with other employees risk a HIPAA.
- It is in violation of PCI to inappropriately transmit or store customer credit card information, including in the context of employee communications.
Not understanding what information is being shared in a digital conversation setting could result in a public relations nightmare for your organization or expensive legal costs.
Company Culture Risk
Not understanding or capturing what is being said in your company-sponsored communication tools can also be a risk to the health of your workplace culture.
Incidents that negatively impact your company culture and introduce workplace toxicity, such as discrimination or bullying, can go unidentified, putting your employees, company and brand reputation at risk.
What could you gain from using and understanding your unstructured conversation data?
Surface toxicity in your organization
The benefit of understanding patterns of employee behavior doesn’t stop at identifying insider threats. By catching behavior anomalies and change, leaders can identify pockets of toxicity that might exist within your organization, allowing for an early and effective response.
Understanding conversation data in an enterprise can surface a persistently negative employee or a toxic employee whose behavior (e.g. sexual harassment) poses a much larger risk to your company culture.
Make decisions based on real-time organizational sentiment
In order to understand employee sentiment and perception of the workplace, human resource teams often invest in employee engagement surveys once a year.
However, engagement surveys are inefficient at best and inherently flawed, in that they are often biased and take so much time to be processed, the data is no longer current.
What if you could make sense of your conversation data and get an accurate sentiment metric? That’s something that leaders could use to make effective and timely organization decisions based on real employee feedback.
Understand how work really gets done
Now, take those aggregated insights from conversation data a step further—imagine if we could understand how employees interact cross-functionally across a given organization.
Leaders of a given organization could have access to unprecedented insight into which departments have an active working relationship—and which ones don’t—while also identifying the true influencers in the workplace.
It’s Worth the Investment to Structure Your Conversation Data
With more conversations coming onto the digital workplace, the volume of unstructured data is growing at a rate of 62% per year. That means that both the risks, but also the potential benefits, are profound. It pays both in risk mitigation and value-add to take the steps now to take control of your unstructured conversation data.
Coming Soon: Aware Spotlight
Real-time, qualitative insights—inspired by your employee communications.