UAE com­pa­nies must cap­i­talise and cast light on dark data

The National - News - - BUSINESS - ALKESH SHARMA

The UAE is home to a mas­sive ac­cu­mu­la­tion of dark data in key in­dus­tries, the un­tapped po­ten­tial of which rep­re­sents a busi­ness-crit­i­cal op­por­tu­nity, ac­cord­ing to a new re­port.

Dark data – or dig­i­tal in­for­ma­tion that is stored but not used – ac­counts for 48 per cent of the to­tal data stored by or­gan­i­sa­tions in the UAE, ac­cord­ing to the 2018 UAE Databerg Re­port re­leased last week by Ver­i­tas Tech­nolo­gies, a Cal­i­for­nia global data man­age­ment com­pany.

“Large vol­umes of dark data that stays in the UAE points to the fact that man­ag­ing dark data is be­com­ing a busi­ness-crit­i­cal is­sue for or­gan­i­sa­tions,” said Damian Wilk, se­nior re­gional di­rec­tor for the Mid­dle East at Ver­i­tas.

“By iden­ti­fy­ing the value of such data, or­gan­i­sa­tions can move to­wards faster de­ci­sion-mak­ing, greater op­er­a­tional ef­fi­ciency and in­creased pro­duc­tiv­ity.”

In most cases, busi­nesses leave dark data dor­mant for prac­ti­cal rea­sons. The data might take too long to clean and any in­for­ma­tion gleaned from or­gan­is­ing it would then be too old to be use­ful. In such in­stances, records may be in­com­plete or out­dated, or be stored in ob­so­lete file for­mats.

Dark data may in­clude server log files that pro­vide clues to web­site vis­i­tor be­hav­iour and cus­tomer call de­tail records in­cor­po­rat­ing con­sumer sen­ti­ment data, ac­cord­ing to TechTar­get, a pub­lisher of data se­cu­rity in­for­ma­tion. Mo­bile ge­olo­ca­tion data can also re­veal in­for­ma­tive traf­fic pat­terns.

Bring­ing dark data into the light – that is, ac­tu­ally us­ing it – can cre­ate new rev­enue streams, re­duce waste and cut down on costs by pro­vid­ing in­sights that can make busi­nesses more ef­fi­cient.

Big data an­a­lyt­ics stud­ies large vol­umes of data to dis­cover un­seen links and cor­re­la­tions. Com­pa­nies are adopt­ing these ap­pli­ca­tions to turn dark data into use­ful in­for­ma­tion to of­fer cus­tomers tai­lored ser­vices.

In 2016, big data an­a­lyt­ics gen­er­ated about $2 bil­lion (Dh7.3bn) in rev­enue in the Mid­dle East and Africa re­gion, and is ex­pected to reach $3.2bn by 2020, ac­cord­ing to Statista.

“Data has been the most valu­able com­mod­ity since the in­dus­trial rev­o­lu­tion ... there is huge po­ten­tial in the data that is yet to be man­aged,” said Hemesh Dogi­parthi, di­rec­tor of tech­ni­cal ser­vices and sup­port at StorIT, a Dubai spe­cial­ist in en­ter­prise data stor­age. He said that tap­ping into dark data could ad­dress press­ing mat­ters like cli­mate change, global hunger and poverty.

Clean data – data that is use­ful to busi­nesses – has more than dou­bled from 8 per cent in 2016 to 19 per cent this year in the UAE, ac­cord­ing to the Databerg re­port. That has led to a sig­nif­i­cant re­duc­tion in so­called “re­dun­dant, ob­so­lete or triv­ial data” from 43 to 33 per cent in the past two years.

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