- Two-thirds of IT and business managers say half their organization's data is dark, according to a Splunk survey of more than 2,200 global IT and business managers. The report defines dark data as "unquantified and untapped data generated by systems, devices, and interactions."
- As the general volume of data increases, respondents expect dark data to scale somewhat proportionally. By 2025, data volumes and dark data are projected to increase nearly five times, in part cultivated by the onslaught of new technologies.
- The majority of respondents, across industry verticals, expect data to increase. In retail, 72% of respondents said at least half of their data is dark. In healthcare, 62% of respondents said the same, according to the report. Only half of the managers in manufacturing and 56% of managers in financial services are prepared or preparing for the influx of data.
IT leaders said they have varying degrees of understanding in new technologies and their impact on data collection. Dark data is exacerbated when leaders have not planned the implementation of new technologies.
"Dark data is created by technology, oftentimes unbeknownst to the humans who are using it. Technology generates it with inadequate processes, resources and services," said Mike Saliter, VP of Industries and Specialization at Splunk. People contribute to dark data with "data exhaust," a byproduct of "our online lives."
As the data volume increases, companies are unable to keep pace. That allows some of it to go dark. Four in five respondents say data volume is the primary challenge in tapping into dark data.
"Now is the time to prepare," said Saliter. Data volume is increasing, but the "technologies driving the next wave of data are not yet matured, and most organizations have yet to adopt them." Because of the delay in solutions' maturity, organizations have the opportunity to "capture value now" and beat out competitors.
Companies that use data management tools for decision-making are 58% more likely to beat revenue goals, according to a Forrester survey. But companies are expected to fold a culture of data, including data literacy and awareness, into a program. Otherwise, unintended consequences can unravel, such as data privacy infringements.
Companies are wary of the impact emerging technologies — blockchain, AR, edge computing, 5G — will have on data creation. Half of respondents expect edge computing to increase the amount of data they collect, but only 12% of respondents say edge computing will worsen data data challenges. However, edge computing "is among the technologies least understood by our respondents," according to the report.
COVID-19 likely accelerated industries' preparedness for unlocking dark data and revamping its management, according to Saliter. "Prior to the pandemic, data was thought of as a helpful tool but not a necessity. Now, the balance has completely shifted."