Tapping into dark data for efficiency, innovation, and income

Looking in the recesses of your data silos can pay dividends for CIOs seeking to improve business processes and drive innovation.

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Competing with data is nothing new. Startups and industry incumbents have long known that harnessing the power of proprietary data sets can be a sustaining source of competitive advantage. However, as many data sources become commoditized and the tools to manipulate data at scale become cheaper and more accessible, the rules of competition are shifting. Companies will need to become more creative in where they source data from and how they use it. Dark data presents an exciting opportunity for early movers to secure a competitive advantage over slower rivals.

A tsunami of data

Research commissioned by Seagate and conducted by IDC finds that enterprise data will grow at a 42% annual growth rate over the next 2 years. However, only 32% of this data is being used effectively, with more than two-thirds sitting idle in silos around the organization. Gartner defines this “dark data” as information assets collected as a byproduct of normal business activities but that firms fail to use for other, potentially income-generating activities. Much of this data is stored for compliance purposes with the cost of secure storage creating an expensive and unproductive overhead.

A sizeable proportion of this emerging data challenge will come from the proliferation of enterprise IoT initiatives. IDC predicts that by 2025 there will be 55.7 billion connected devices worldwide. Seventy-five percent of these will be connected to an IoT platform, generating 73.1 ZB of data annually, up from 18.3 ZB today. Usually collected for specific applications within the firm, IoT data could also be leveraged for other purposes.

Raising efficiency with dark data

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