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4 min read

Structured vs. Unstructured Data: What’s the Difference?

executive-board-YC2MWG3Forward-looking sales executives have embraced modern contract management as a way to boost their sales metrics (and their own commissions). But the path to sales-oriented contract management starts with understanding the difference between structured data and unstructured data

Structured data is information that's arranged in a pattern that's easy to read and easy for software to use. The most common example of structured data is a spreadsheet, where information is arranged in tidy, predictable columns and rows, and software can reorganize and analyze that information quickly and easily.

There's a reason that, whenever you move information between two different types of software, it's usually exported as a CSV file. CSV files are just generic spreadsheet files. Because spreadsheets are easy for both humans and software to read, and CSV patterns are simple and predictable enough that almost any type of modern software can interpret them, CSV files are the "default" language of most software programs.

Unstructured data is basically every other kind of file out there, including documents like your sales contracts. While humans can read unstructured data, it can take work to get any kind of hard numbers out of them. For example, could you read a contact and tell very quickly how many times the word "price" appears in the document, or whether a renewal clause word-for-word matches your standard, boilerplate renewal language?

You'd probably have to read a contract very slowly, or read it several times, to find that kind of precise information. And having hard data on your contracts is what enables you to manage them carefully and squeeze the most revenue out of them. Hard data empowers automated contract analysis -- the ability for software to analyze your contractual opportunities and automatically queue up leads and call sheets based on your contract language.

If you want to automate anything -- including contract analysis and contract management -- you need to turn all your contracts into structured data like spreadsheets. That's where artificial intelligence comes in.

Artificial intelligence can read your unstructured contracts and turn them into structured data, which you can then use to automate all sorts of other tasks. With easier, faster access to more structured data, you can do more than just generate sales contracts, you can analyze and manage them. 

By using AI to extract structured data from your unstructured contracts, you can instantly generate the spreadsheet-like information that your customer relationship management (CRM) software needs to, for example, automatically identify all the client contracts that expire next month, identify all the parties to those contracts, then build a call sheet and email campaign that helps you re-win all those deals (so the customers don't churn).

AI turns unstructured contracts into structured spreadsheets. Structured data lets your CRM software extract the most possible revenue from your sales contracts. To make the most money, you need AI contract analysis on your side.

LinkSquares offers the most effective AI contract analysis solution on the market. If you want to start extracting critical data from your sales agreements -- and set up the CRM automation that will boost your sales numbers every month -- contact LinkSquares today