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4 Ways Businesses Leverage the Potential of Dark Data

Updated on September 17, 2019
Evan Morris profile image

: Known for his boundless energy and enthusiasm. Evan works as a Freelance Networking Analyst, an avid blog writer, particularly around tech

Today, any action a user does on his or her computer or any handheld device comes is recorded as data. And this data comes back to the user as experience. Companies around the world compete to optimize this experience consistently. If you’ve ever received a discount email on abandoning a shopping cart or received personalized watch recommendations, understand that your data is behind all of this.

With organizations striving to create more touchpoints to record helpful data, they often fail to leverage the complete potential of the data they have in hand. According to the research firm IDC, only 10% of data is used by companies for insights and crucial business decisions. The remaining 90% data ends up as dark data. As the name suggests, dark data is any data that companies overlook its existence or do not understand how to make sense out of it.

For both businesses that are bootstrapped and bigger organizations, dark data is of crucial importance because it’s part of their ROI. If your business produces data and you have a team of analysts working on visible data, it’s time they dig deep into dark data as well.

To help you get started, here are a few quick best practices:

Upskilling Your Current Talent Pool

Harvard University has already called data science as the hottest job of the 21st century. Researchers and analysts have also concluded that data science, with its allied technologies like machine learning, AI and automation would replace 40% of the existing jobs in the next 15 years. At this crucial time, it’s important that the current talent pool in your organisation should be able to work extensively with data. They should reskill to the most in-trend skills and get hands-on with tools like Python, Spark and more.

The more your employees break away from obsolete skill sets, the more technical they would be. And this technical exposure will allow them to approach data and its potential systematically. Aligning your recruitment tactics to meet this demand would be complementary.

Introducing Data Culture

One of the key areas that would make working with dark data easier is making the stakeholders understand the importance of it. Team leads, managers, senior associates or anyone who has authority in the organization should have an understanding of the potential of dark data. They are the bridge between the touchpoints in place and business decisions and their say influences operations, budget spends and more. That is why they should be one of the first set of team members who should be made aware of working with dark data. They need to understand that dark data is as important as any structured visible data for business growth and profit and that there are efficient tools for it. If this awareness is generated and a culture to sustain this is fostered, companies can avoid being in the 21% of the businesses that struggle to make sense out of dark data because the stakeholders felt it was a futile effort.

Implementing AI

While the above two practices involved manual interventions, this is all about incorporating effective AI strategies into operations. AI has the innate ability to speed up processes and efficiency, making it one of the most reliable technologies for optimizing operational efficiency, customer experience, strategic decision making and even recruiting. This reliability can be put to good use by analysts and replace human efforts with a few lines of codes of automation.

When the machine is taught in its own language to go through dark data for inferences, this not just helps save time but arrive as a bigger avenue for the company to explore and reap benefits from. AI today is fast growing in its adoption and employees are increasingly working on becoming AI-ready. Implementing AI strategies and dedicating a team for this would be fruitful in the long run and help you get quick fixes.

Having Everything In House

So far, most companies have been resorting to consultants and agencies for any assistance with dark data and this has helped them with immediate results, but concerns with dark data vary from one company to another. So having a dedicated team that knows the ins and outs of the company’s touchpoints and workflows would do a better job at identifying shortcomings and solving them instead of consultants who would rather have a generalized opinion and template operating procedures.

The solution to that one hurdle that has been stopping you from cracking that deal, traffic or profit could be well buried in the limitless piles of dark data. The sooner you wake about this and implement these strategies, the faster you would achieve your goals. Good luck!


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