A longstanding nightly newscast in New York City begins each night with the announcement, It's 10 o'clock, do you know where your children are? The same kind of warning applies to businesses who shut their doors each day on raw data. Just as children are our hope for the future, data is the key to business growth. Despite the power of big data today to drive big value, information-rich businesses put their data to sleep where it remains dormant and dark.
Whatever you think of Bitcoin and other crypto-currencies, data is the real competitive currency of today’s forward-looking companies. Thanks to the widespread use of social media, search engines, point of sale transaction systems, and a plethora of emerging technologies, terabytes of unstructured data are unleashed every day and they are a treasure trove of information critical to generating customer insights and strategic operational insights. Rather than tucking it away at the close of business, like gold, data must be mined and brought into the light of day.
In data analyst-speak, dark data refers to unstructured data in its raw or undigested state. Largely text-based, this is the data generated by
- text messages
- IOT devices
Valuable information is locked within this unstructured data, and this information can be used for gaining insight into customer behavior, competitor tactics, or pricing and marketing. The consultancy firm Deloitte estimates not only that 80 to 90 percent of the data in existence today is dark data, but that it resides in a deep web, 500 times larger than the surface web we all use in the course of daily living.
Putting Dark Data to Use
Virtually all business sectors are finding ways to use dark data. The medical field has discovered it can use individual patient data to better understand the patient experience so doctors can create the types of care and services needed, and in so doing, build patient loyalty.
Retail, a field that learned early on that they could use digital technology to reshape customer behavior and shopping habits, is learning that dark data mined from customers' online lives yields valuable insight into their preferences and habits. This information can then be used in marketing, merchandising, and product development, as well as customer service strategies that improve the customer experience.
Rather than embarking on the impossible task of taking inventory of all the dark data generated by your organization, first meet with your business teams to discover the kinds of questions they want answered. Once you know this, you can focus your dark data analysis on relevant data streams and sources. An easier course of action is to hire data scientists who are skilled in statistical and deep modeling techniques.
You may be amazed to discover just how much dark data your business generates in even one day. Leaving it unanalyzed can mean losing valuable information that can be critical in decision making. infoedge can help you shine a light on your data footprint and make sure every data dollar is well spent and every decision gets the information it needs when it needs it. Contact us to find out how to discover, classify and protect your invaluable data.