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Navigating Dark Data To Find Hidden Value in a Digital Era

- March 20, 2015 - 2 Comments

Our world is rapidly connecting people, process, data, and things in ways that were unimaginable just a few years ago. The Internet of Everything (IoE) is at the heart of this transformation.

As more dark assets are “lit up,” organizations will receive an influx of valuable data that can lead to insights, knowledge, and opportunities. However, much of the data generated will be just beyond reach, frequently referred to as “dark data.”

While some leaders may realize the importance of managing dark data, there is a unique opportunity to capture and use that data to improve business outcomes, and ultimately transform today’s companies into digital organizations.

By bringing dark data into the light, organizations can enable a more holistic view of content, maximize the value of information, and bring business intelligence to a new dimension by developing contextual awareness.

So how can organizations balance the benefits and challenges of dark data?

Recently, I joined Isaac Sacolick, Global CIO and Managing Director at Greenwich Associates, in a new Future of IT podcast episode to discuss dark data. His expertise in business intelligence, establishing data science programs, and leveraging big data made him a particularly ideal candidate for this discussion. The full episode is available now on iTunes. Here are a few highlights:

Big data is nothing without big judgment.

It is possible for a dark asset and the data it can produce to ultimately provide business value.

However, in order for this to happen, business and IT leaders must commit to taking action when it comes to dark data.

They must focus on how to capture data, make it structured, apply analytics, and streamline processes so that people can use the insights that result. Most important, leaders must tie the insights to employees, so they can more easily complete a task or change the way the decision-making process is done. Alternately, the data needs to be tied directly into a control system so processes can be accomplished automatically.

Governance and transparency are critical to capturing the value of dark data.

When we give our credit card to a waiter or place our groceries on the conveyer belt at the grocery store, there is a clear exchange of value. From past experiences, we’ve decided that the convenience factor of these actions outweighs the potential risk of exposing our personal information.

From an organizational standpoint, there needs to be clear governance and transparency as businesses leverage dark data to better understand the actual customer experience. By communicating the trade-off with customers, enterprises can better mitigate the risks of dark data and reap the value of new insights.

For more insights about the potential of dark data and dark assets, be sure to listen to the full Future of IT podcast episode, with Isaac Sacolick, via iTunes.

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2 Comments

  1. Joseph - Some good examples in your post. I updated my blog with a "how to" on using agile to prioritize discovery efforts and experimentation with an enterprise's dark data http://blogs.starcio.com/2015/03/agile-data-discovery-value-in-dark-data.html

    • Thanks, Isaac. I enjoyed reading your blog post. I especially liked your strong list of questions organizational leaders can consider as they evaluate the business value of dark data. Thanks for sharing!

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