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- What is Dark Data and How Can Your Business Profit From It? - December 9, 2020
Entrepreneurs are collectively being led to believe that data is the new currency. This attitude has prompted executives to hoard sizable amounts of data on behalf of their businesses. However, the truth is that the leaders at many organizations have no idea what they should be doing with this data.
Further complicating the issue, most data is unstructured, meaning that there isn’t any specific format the data will assume. In contrast, structured data is neatly tagged and categorized for easier use and processing. Structured data fits neatly into a predetermined, fixed record length format, and it is relatively easy to use for various purposes in business.
“Dark data” is basically data that has been captured and archived, but nobody is using it for any tangible purpose. Frequently, it is unstructured data that isn’t easy to harness and put to use.
So, what could your company be doing to profit from dark data?
The following are a few examples of ways that your startup could be using dark data to improve operations or profitability:
Analyze server logs to better understand visitor behavior
Often, server logs are recorded automatically, which generates massive quantities of data over time. These server logs are supposed to act as red flags to alert your team when something out of the ordinary, like a data breach or instance of attempted fraud, is happening.
However, server logs can serve multiple purposes. They can reveal many details to you regarding the actions and behaviors of your website’s visitors.
Use call data records to better understand your customers’ point of view
If your company routinely records incoming calls, you probably have heaps of related dark data to work with. If someone within your organization were to analyze it all and make sense of it, you’d no doubt come away from the exercise with invaluable insights that could help you to improve existing products, design effective new ones and improve your company’s approval rating with the people who make up your target market.
Improve your business planning by interpreting traffic patterns derived from geolocation data
Do you know where your customers come from and how they live? If you aren’t already aware of their locations and lifestyles, you can learn a lot by studying your website’s traffic patterns and geolocation data.
Of course, these are not the only possible ways you could be using dark data to improve your company’s operations and bottom line. It could be lucrative to spend some time brainstorming other possibilities for what to do with your data.
Finding talent with the capacity to utilize dark data
Perhaps you don’t have any data experts on your payroll currently. If that’s the case, you basically have two options when it comes to finding the talent you need to implement a data-driven strategy on behalf of your startup. You can either designate one or more of your current employees to train and assign to this task, or you can recruit and hire new talent to do the job.
Considering the current existence of a global talent shortage of experienced data professionals, it’s usually going to be easier to train some of your current team members to assume these duties. The most straightforward approach is to pay for one or more of your employees to obtain a master of business analytics, a data science degree or a similar advanced degree focusing on the corporate use of data for increased profitability.
Now that you’re updated on dark data and a few of its potential uses, hopefully your team can use this information to profit substantially from the dark data your company generates.