May 13, 2019
Last month, Splunk released their highly anticipated State of Dark Data Report. The survey included opinions from more than 1,300 business and IT leaders and looked at how data and artificial intelligence (AI) are regarded in seven key economies, including the United States and Japan. The report revealed that organizations struggle to find their data, with more than 50 percent of data considered to be “dark” and untapped. However, nearly all respondents agreed that data is “very” or “extremely” valuable to an organization’s success.
So, what is dark data, and what does the term encompass? According to Gartner, dark data can be defined as:
“The information assets organizations collect, process and store during regular business activities, but generally fail to use for other purposes (for example, analytics, business relationships and direct monetizing). Similar to dark matter in physics, dark data often comprises most organizations’ universe of information assets. Thus, organizations often retain dark data for compliance purposes only. Storing and securing data typically incurs more expense (and sometimes greater risk) than value.”
Assessing the Opportunity: Data Driven Decisions
The value of dark data comes from the large quantity of it, and its ability to drive business growth and value when utilized effectively. Having large amounts of data enables organizations to apply it in order to learn more about each aspect of their business operations. Plus, the larger the data set is, the more accurate the analysis of it will be. This allows organizations to make increasingly accurate data-driven decisions and assumptions about their operations.
Although industry leaders recognize the value of data, they aren’t using it. This is because they don’t have the right tools or resources to do so. In fact, the majority of respondents stated that they are counting on AI to help them extract value from data. Yet, most do not have the technology or skill necessary to utilize AI. Moreover, 69 percent of respondents stated that they aren’t even trying to learn new skills, with almost half of respondents saying it’s because they’re “too old.” This is not only hindering their ability to unlock business value, but it’s also expensive. Storing data is less costly than it used to be; however, it is still expensive – especially when you aren’t leveraging it.
The message that can be taken from this report is clear: businesses need to develop a dark data strategy in order to stay competitive. This includes hiring the right people, fostering a data-driven mindset within the organization, and investing in the right technology.