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Most organizations have spent considerable resources acquiring, creating and collecting data. And yet experts estimate that up to 80 percent of this data is “dark data,” meaning it sits unseen and unused in segmented silos.

Every business, no matter what size, has an accumulation of dark data sitting in repositories like spreadsheets on employees’ desktops, data warehouses and non-relational databases. At the same time, increasing volumes of data are generated every day, including machine and sensor data from the Internet of Things (IoT).

All of this dark data has potential for value. Imagine being able to quickly correlate customer information across data sources like online reviews, correspondence files and product inventories to improve customer service experiences, quickly identify product problems, or proactively address supply-chain needs.

However, most organizations struggle to generate value from dark data. There’s the sheer cost of  extracting, storing and protecting it. In addition, businesses suffer inefficiencies and reduced productivity when users must cobble together data from multiple siloed sources to analyze, make correlations and gain insights.

There’s a better way — without having to build yet another data warehouse.

Getting value from data — fast

Data integration is a key component to shining a light on dark data. Organizations can achieve business value faster by integrating data sources — whether that’s the cloud, data warehouses, legacy systems and even users’ desktops. That means connecting data sources and making it easily accessible, yet also secure.

“Imagine if anyone in your organization with an interest was able to seek data about your customers, market, competitors and internal operations within the context of appropriate confidentiality and security controls,” said Ben Schein, VP of Curiosity at Domo. “By encouraging curiosity and providing a platform to discover, shape and consider data insights, businesses can transform and innovate.”

An integrated data platform can automate dynamic data pipelines across disparate sources and embed analytics to:

  • Speed insights: Get data products in the hands of business users faster
  • Maximize infrastructure investments: Connect data more efficiently and automatically set storage permissions to eliminate tech debt
  • Remove IT backlog: Eliminate time spent managing jobs and incoming data requests
  • Improve TCO: Empower business users with data transformation and self-service capabilities
  • Minimize data complexity: Maintain control and governance while reducing complexity with AI-powered workflows across the entire data ecosystem

Take, for example, media giant ESPN. Using an integrated data platform, within a year ESPN increased customer satisfaction by 9 percent and customer self-service use by 200 percent. The platform combines call-center activity and social media platforms, then extracts keywords to analyze sentiment for customer support teams to help quickly identify issues and make decisions. The solution also enables ESPN to send push notifications through chatbots, FAQ alerts, and live site announcements.

Curious for more?

The first step toward reaping business value from dark, siloed data is to discover where it exists. CIOs should collaborate with lines of business to develop an inventory of data repositories.

“By identifying dark data, organizations can start building an integration roadmap,” said Schein. “That’s the first step toward generating data value and driving business outcomes.”

Learn more about the untapped value of dark data here.