Companies now need to be proficient at collecting unstructured data that comes from external sources, in addition to the information they collect internally, says K. Ananth Krishnan, chief technology officer of Tata Consultancy Services, one of India's largest companies. The explosion of the social Web and the variety of types of information have brought about this need, he says. "It's a fairly simple decision to say that now that I have literally hundreds of millions of people with computing devices in their hands, I can reach out to them, I can capture information about their likes, their dislikes, and their locations that I could leverage in my business."

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