What is dark data?

Gartner Inc. marks dark data as “information assets that organizations collect, process and store in the course of their regular business activity, but generally fail to use for other purposes.”

It is estimated that the US digital universe doubles in size approximately every three years.  Every minute during 2015, users uploaded over 300 hours of new video to YouTube, liked 4.1 million pieces of social media on Facebook, and liked 1.7 million photos on Instagram.  Finally, less than one percent of data in the in the US digital universe was analyzed during 2012 as the rest of this data remained “dark”.

Considering these facts, it is likely that most of the available data within a given organization is not adding value to the bottom line. Some of this data is simply being stored for legal, audit, or other specific business requirements, while many other rich sources of information simply vanish into the digital abyss.  Dark data possibly represents the single greatest opportunity for gathering new business intelligence in the modern digital age.     

Examples of dark data include

  • Unstructured Text Data
  • Log files
  • Email conversations
  • Employee files
  • Web pages
  • Presentations or notes
  • Previous employee data
  • Rough prints

 

Want to leverage your dark data?

We are in the era of Big Data, which is currently more of a challenge for modern organizations, than it is a benefit. A typical organization starts storing data from the very first day of its commencement.  Much of this data remains unused and is only stored with the possibility to benefit the organization at some point in the future.

In other cases, rich data sources are frequently used to improve the way business is being done whether it is gathering client and marketing information, measuring ad campaign performance, or analyzing data for business and financial intelligence.  Unfortunately, this is the exception rather than the rule.

A vast majority of digital capital remains unused and simply adds no value at all to the organization. This type of data is commonly referred to as “Dark Data”.

Dark Data Challenges

There are many challenges in managing dark data including the large amount of space it occupies. Storage costs increase as the amount of dark data increases over time.  If we consider that dark data growth is consistent with the US digital universe, it will double in size approximately every 3 years.

Apart from the management costs, maintaining large amounts of dark data leads to potential security risks within the company.  Security breaches, internal threats, malware, and ransomware make dark data a prime target for exploitation.  Since the content of dark data is vastly unknown to the organization, it is always possible that the risk and potential liability associated with the data content may be much greater than the current security measures being taken to protect it.

A simple solution is..

The goal is not to eliminate dark data, but rather to focus on organizing the data in such a way that it proves useful for the business and minimizes potential security risks.  Several potential solutions exist.

Dashboards have the ability to light up dark data.  Proper organization and presentation of dark data sources assist organizations in identifying both the value and risk contained within each dark data repository. Dashboards highlight and focus on the value added components of dark data.

When combined with the power of machine learning, dashboards identify trends and communicate actionable business intelligence as it occurs. The dashboard has the ability to consolidate and centralize topical data which may be spread across many disparate data sources.

So how do you choose a dashboard for your organization?

A dashboard is an interactive interface with the ability to present many topics or aspects of data in a single screen. It gives an insight into the organization’s performance, however, it solely depends on the features you choose for your dashboard.

“It’s all part of creating a ‘metrics driven organization,’ in which each worker is empowered to make decisions based on shared data.”Bill Gassman of Gartner Research,

Answer the following questions to know which type of dashboard is most beneficial for your organization:

Questions Implications
What are the problems that you want to solve? Identify why you need a dashboard
Who is using the dashboard? The features will vary depending on the user’s
Performance Set your goals and performance parameters.
Goals Before developing performance metrics, it is important to identify the goals that you are hoping to achieve

 

Simply put, a dashboard is a digital presentation format designed to pull all information into one place so that you don’t have to log into multiple systems.  Mobile dashboards extend this functionality into the hands of busy executives who require access to key performance indicators on the go.

Worklake Dashboards may be used to raise alerts when data or trends indicate attention is needed using the power of machine learning. The social aspect of WorkLake dashboards also allows employees to highlight and initiate discussion around any dashboard tile or topic.  Executives may also use this feature to request explanations regarding performance, initiate workflow tasks, or request input from application owners and subject matter experts.

Contact: Worklake to find out more about the best dashboard solution for your dark data challenges today!

 

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