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Harnessing the Dark Side of Data to Drive Business Impact

In this special guest feature, Yann Stadnicki, Chief Data Officer at iBanFirst, highlights a recent report by the International Data Corporation revealing that 68% of business data goes unleveraged. With the volume of dark data expected to increase five-fold by 2025, businesses need to know how to use this data effectively. With a PhD in Mathematics, a former Silicon Valley technologist and Microsoft research engineer, Yann identified the potential for data insights, applied artificial intelligence and machine learning within the fintech industry to help customers make smarter decisions and operate effectively.

Dark data is being left untapped

At the beginning of a business’ life cycle, there is data – a lot of it. Companies have the opportunity to analyze and understand large amounts of data, accessing multiple sources, cleaning it, aggregating it, and correlating it. With this data comes valuable business insights. Dark data – unutilized or untapped information – takes this one step further by enabling companies to make better-informed decisions.

However, over time, the volume of dark data grows, and businesses can start seeing it as a burden rather than a source of value. In fact, dark data is one of the largest business opportunities for companies since the advent of big data technologies. Splunk recently reported that 55% of business data is dark[1] and this number is constantly growing. By 2025, the volume of dark data is expected to increase five-fold, making it paramount that businesses know how to use this data effectively.[2]

Yet, for such a valuable asset, the power of data is not being fully harnessed. Research commissioned by Seagate Technology and conducted by the International Data Corporation revealed that 68% of business data goes unleveraged.[3] This means that businesses are only using less than a third (32%) of the data available to them.[4]

Data is the new oil

Data is one of the most powerful tools to inform business decisions so by not tapping into its full potential, businesses are losing out. Think of data as a library and conducting business decisions as research. When researching a topic, you could decide that you will look at a certain number of books, but neglect journals and newspapers. These additional sources of information could strengthen the quality of your decision-making and even give your business that competitive edge.

There is a misnomer that dark data is useless to an organization. However, this couldn’t be further from the truth. Analyzing untapped data will help to enrich the information that businesses already have as well as contextualize insights and feed into the company’s strategies, business models, and day-to-day operations.

So, how can companies drive business impact when such an enormous amount of data is left unleveraged?

Putting data to work

The good news is that even though so little data is being put to work by businesses,[5] 92% of business leaders are willing to learn how to leverage dark data.[6]

With limited time on their hands, businesses can automate the process of accessing dark data. As a result, the process of learning is sped up as well as the intelligence that you gather and the business decisions you make. The key here is to create a structured classification system that groups the various distinctive data sets that are captured. This enables companies to determine which data sets are beneficial for certain functions and those that are less valuable.

Regardless of the size of your business, dark data can drive business impact. This is a golden opportunity for companies that have experienced very fast growth over the last five years, since these businesses will have accumulated dark data and won’t be utilizing this valuable information.

Driving business resilience

In a post-COVID-19 world, businesses are striving for resilience. The businesses that survive and thrive will be the ones that are most informed and up to date with their customers and the market conditions. Considering the competitiveness of the international environment, businesses can harness dark data to gain a significant edge over their competitors by creating stronger analytics and potential business opportunities. Therefore, CFOs of all organizations can leverage dark data as part of their business model to drive growth and resilience, especially during the pandemic.

To stay competitive in the current market, efficient automation and utilization of dark data are essential. With the volume of dark data increasing every day,[7] this is not something to be ignored. Through machine learning and AI, businesses can analyze trends, measure patterns, and gain a competitive advantage over those who don’t harness dark data.

So, the difference between a flourishing business and one that falls behind could be whether or not they have effectively leveraged dark data. 


[1] https://www.splunk.com/pdfs/dark-data/the-state-of-dark-data-report.pdf

[2] https://www.ciodive.com/news/dark-data-management-emerging-tech-splunk/584472/#:~:text=By%202025%2C%20data%20volumes%20and,the%20onslaught%20of%20new%20technologies.&text=In%20retail%2C%2072%25%20of%20respondents,same%2C%20according%20to%20the%20report.

[3] https://www.seagate.com/files/www-content/our-story/rethink-data/files/Rethink_Data_Report_2020.pdf

[4] https://www.seagate.com/files/www-content/our-story/rethink-data/files/Rethink_Data_Report_2020.pdf

[5] https://www.seagate.com/files/www-content/our-story/rethink-data/files/Rethink_Data_Report_2020.pdf

[6] https://www.splunk.com/pdfs/dark-data/the-state-of-dark-data-report.pdf

[7] https://www.ciodive.com/news/dark-data-management-emerging-tech-splunk/584472/#:~:text=By%202025%2C%20data%20volumes%20and,the%20onslaught%20of%20new%20technologies.&text=In%20retail%2C%2072%25%20of%20respondents,same%2C%20according%20to%20the%20report

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