Big Data Enthusiasts: Here’s What You Shouldn’t Ignore !


The analysis firm IDC says the world’s information is doubling every two years. With this rate of data production, it means that some of the data is falling by the wayside when it is not put to immediate use.

What is “Dark Data”?

What is “Dark Data”? It is different for each organization, but it is essentially data that is not being used to get a 360 degree view of a customer. For instance, a bank or retailer, that is only looking at transactional information or CRM database information to target a customer with a promotion — is only seeing part of the picture and understanding a fraction of the preferences of that consumer. The highly valuable data about who these customers are interacting with and what they are saying in social mediums — like how they feel about brands, what they are looking for, where they shop, their personal network, a customer service experience they had as they walked into a bank or store — is left dark.

Before You Maximize “Dark Data”, Know Your Data

Before diving in on how businesses can better harness “Dark Data”, first consider all the different types of data and how they benefit the company.

From the traditional business perspective, there is enterprise resource planning (ERP) that provides businesses with intelligence on how to manage and coordinate all the resources, information, and functions of a business; customer relationship management (CRM) that provides data on employees’ interactions with customers, clients, and sales prospects; and then the data warehouse that serves as a database that can provide historical (often aggregated) structured data, like point of sale (POS) figures, or can be used to help provide forward-looking reports based on trending data.

Next to those datasets, large consumer-centric companies have huge amounts of internal transaction and operations data, such as payments, calls, texts, digital TV activity, etc. This is a goldmine of information, but unfortunately few companies have the knowledge or resources to leverage this wealth of data when it comes to interacting with customers, attracting new customers, and improving relationships with the good ones.

This, combined with unstructured data generated from the web and social media, can hold a wealth of information on a consumer’s browsing preference. For instance, social networks that detail specific consumer preferences, interests and affiliations, and mobile technologies, such as geolocation or mobile wallet applications that when combined, can help businesses target a buyer on-the-go. In essence, there are billions of data points circulating at any given time.

If a business is not able to consolidate and consider data from all of these different fire-hose sources of information, simultaneously, then that business has a very limited and inaccurate view of the consumer. And while “Dark Data” will not entirely thwart business operations, it will cause a number of missed opportunities and leave a gaping hole in providing a 360 degree view of a customer.

How to Avoid Leaving Data in the Dark

As “Dark Data” continues to grow exponentially in every enterprise, here are a few tips to start shedding light on “Dark Data”:

  • Look to invest in a consumer intelligence solution that sits on top of these kinds of databases to search, index and provide real-time assessments of consumer activity. This will help ensure that your organization is getting a 360 view of a customer and acting on that intelligence in real time.
  • If mobile data is not feeding into your company’s overall business intelligence on the consumer, make it happen. Companies should be ‘meeting’ their consumers on their mobile devices and embracing — or at least preparing for a mobile wallet strategy, which is growing in popularity and adoption.
  • Embrace transactions from operational systems and your web traffic as valuable data. Combined with classic enterprise data (i.e. CRM, ERP) and with other Big Data sources (i.e. web traffic, social media), it can often reveal more relevant consumer data to help spur a sale or transaction and ignoring this information is leaving a gap in a true 360 degree view of the customer.

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About olivierlehe

Passion for Innovations

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