Gartner defines dark data as the information assets that organizations collect, process and store during regular business activities but generally fail to use for business opportunities. It’s “dark” for multiple reasons: It might be located or abandoned in silos, stored in data repositories or user desktops, or buried in documents.
Unfortunately, many organizations are kidding themselves about how much dark data they have. A recent survey by IDG revealed that IT leaders classify only 25 percent of their organizational data, on average, as dark. That’s compared to expert estimates that anywhere from 50 to 90 percent of data is dark.
Leaving even a quarter of your data untapped or hidden is a problem. Traditional business intelligence (BI) applications work on “known” data. Getting to the next level of value — the one your competitors may be mining right now — is the future of BI, and it means finding insights amid the “unknowns.”
For example, sports media network ESPN wasn’t able to tap into viewer sentiment to identify issues with pay-per-view broadcasts that might cause customer churn. The company deployed a modern BI solution that extracts keywords and data, analyzes sentiment, and summarizes the information so ESPN’s customer care teams can take action.
“We now have this clear window into the issues viewers have and the severity of those issues,” says Doug Kramon, senior director of fan support and customer care at ESPN. The results: Customer satisfaction rose by 9 percent, and customer self-service increased 200 percent in a 12-month period.
These types of outcomes go directly to the business’s bottom line. To get to the next level of value, organizations must find ways to easily unlock their dark data and answer not just the big BI questions but the small ones too.
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