We have all heard the phrase — “as mysterious as the dark side of the moon,” but the fact of the matter is that in today’s age of space exploration and satellite technology, there isn’t much mystery left.
So, if mankind has been able to solve the mystery of the dark side of the moon, then why hasn’t it been able to solve the mystery of dark data?
What is Dark Data?
In simple terms, dark data is data that organizations are unable to process and utilize in the course of their day-to-day operations. Every move – every click – that a company makes can be processed and analyzed for vital insights. However, most companies or organizations are unable to utilize this data beyond their immediate requirements.
This means that there are mountains of viable data simply being piled up and left to their own devices.
Dark data is also referred to as unstructured data as it consists of non-organized sources of data. This includes relevant business information in the form of emails, audio clips, large volumes of logs, text and unlabeled images that are repositories of extremely useful information.
The volume of unstructured, dark data is not a matter to be lightly dismissed according to an article in Breakthrough Analysis, unstructured data accounts for nearly 80-85% of the data recorded by an organization that contains relevant business information.
So, while dark data may be a subset of big data, it accounts for the largest portion of high-volume data as it comprises the information that an organization processes, collects and stores during its regular business hours.
Now, let’s take a look at the challenges of harvesting dark data, shall we?
The Challenges of Processing Dark Data
A Huge Strain on Resources
For you to properly utilize your dark data, you will need to allocate resources to sort and organize the large volumes of unstructured data received daily. This increased demand for labor will put an additional strain on your existing resources and leave you with an overworked and tired team.
The most obvious solution may seem to be to hire more people, but this will drastically drive up your operating costs. Moreover, do you wish to pay a high salary to a skilled tech expert and have them just sit down and spend valuable hours just sorting out your unutilized data?
So, how about a solution that not only helps you utilize your dark data but also processes it much faster and gives you access to real-time insights? That’s not all. These services are provided to you at a fraction of the cost with the aid of a highly-motivated team that performs the task with a greater level of accuracy.
So, all you need to do in order to harness the power of your dark data is to simply outsource your unstructured data processing to a reliable partner that employs flexible sources of data extraction and real-time processing services.
Dark Data in Insurance
Filing and processing insurance claims is not an easy task and it usually involves a ton of paperwork and images, videos, etc for visual evidence.
Swift and accurate processing of this data can help streamline the entire process and result in faster claims processing.
However, the challenge is how do you sort out this entangled mesh of emails, forms submitted, forms to be submitted and organize all the reports and evidence to reach a gainful conclusion? The answer is easier than you might think. You need an outsourcing partner that can employ data discovery tools to collect data from multiple sources, convert it, extract it and then process it accurately in real-time.
Dark Data in Healthcare and Life Sciences
Another area where we can see huge volumes of unused data is the Healthcare and Life Sciences industries. The unused data in this sector is disguised as clinical notes, prescriptions, physician’s records, lab test results, etc. All of these documents contain important data that is not being effectively utilized by the current processes.
Once this data has been processed and transformed into actionable insights, it can provide the healthcare providers valuable insights into:
- The most commonly used and prescribed medications
- Advanced symptom analysis
- Most successful treatment pathways
- Patient Outcomes
- Comorbidity, i.e., co-occurring diseases that occur alongside a primary condition, etc.
As we can see, harvesting dark data yields crucial industry and medical insights; moreover, it can also be used to significantly improve the quality of healthcare services.
Dark Data in Credit Cards
There is so much valuable data that can get lost while analyzing online applications for credit cards. The marketing team at the bank focuses primarily on extracting customer details and determining the eligibility of the applicants. So, what happens to all that information about how the applicant actually arrived at the form page?
This data can offer valuable insights into customer behavior that can determine custom acquisition campaigns in the future. It can even help you optimize your website experience and application forms/ landing page designs.
So, then the challenge once again is how do you unlock the power of all this unrefined data? Where do you find the manpower and how do you prioritize this among your daily tasks?
At ARDEM, we provide multi-faceted solutions for data capture and processing including everything from optical character recognition technology to high-speed scanning and intelligent automation.
Any company, large or small receives data from multiple sources. While it is easy to manage small volumes of data and organize them initially, what do you do when large batches of data come in?
Most companies process their most pressing requirements first. So, what happens to large volumes of data that are saved in different repositories in different departments? It lies in the dark waiting for the day it can step out once more into the light.
Simply storing large amounts of raw data without ever using it is paramount to jailing your data in the dark for a crime it didn’t commit. This not only creates a storage problem but also creates a liability with the constant threat of data breach. So, how do you turn these liabilities into assets? Continue reading to find out!
The Advantages of Utilizing Dark Data
It Provides Greater Insights
It may seem quite convenient for you to simply ignore those unused mounds of data and let them stay as-is. On the other hand, you can partner with the right service and unleash the power of your dark data to gain a competitive edge.
The advanced insights from processed dark data can light up associations that you never thought possible. Uncovering these unique associations or sources can help you create optimized marketing campaigns and communication.
As opposed to traditional enterprise data, which is just the tip of the iceberg, dark data provides an in-depth intelligence that is too valuable to ignore.
Mapping Market Trends
Since dark data represents the vast majority of a company’s data, it contains valuable insights into the working of different aspects/departments that can give a company a holistic picture of its current state of functioning and also show a complete picture of the demand and supply chain.
In the words of Stephen Few, the author of Signal: Understanding What Matters in a World of Noise, “Data becomes useful knowledge of something that matters when it builds a bridge between a question and an answer. This connection is the signal.”
So, dark data does contain useful signals indicating what is happening in the market in real-time and whether your current supply chain can fulfill the demand or not. This is another factor that makes data mining and processing so crucial.
As they say- “Hell hath no fury like data scorned.” Well, no one actually said that but ignoring your company’s day-to-day data can cause you to miss out on valuable insights and perhaps even current dangers to your business.
Initially extracting, segregating and processing your dark data may seem like too much effort. However, in the long run, this raw, unstructured data will provide real-time insights, which, in turn, will drive smart business decisions and yield high returns on investment.
Creating a Central Database
Scattered data is profitless data. You need to create a central database of all your data, assembling from different departments and branches in one place for faster processing and analytics.
So, what you need is an integrated solution to capture, extract, process, and analyze your entire data to light up pathways and connections lost in the maze of unprocessed dark data.
Therefore, proper recording and analysis of day-to-day data should be an essential part of the data management strategy across businesses and industries. Here’s where a trusted outsourcing partner with extensive industry experience and knowledge comes in handy.
How Outsourcing Can Help
One may ask if processing dark data was so simple, then why hasn’t everybody been doing it and why hasn’t it been done before?
The right answer is that processing dark data is not as easy as it sounds and the reason why dark data can be harvested today can be entirely credited to the specialization of data entry services and the evolution of advanced technologies like artificial intelligence and machine learning.
Automation can extract, process and analyze your data, but to do that, it requires unstructured data to be compiled in a standardized format.
This is accomplished by the combined use of artificial intelligence and machine learning that turn your dark, unstructured data into usable data.
At ARDEM, all handwritten and physical documents are scanned using optical character recognition (OCR) technology that digitizes all physical records for processing. Once this is accomplished, AI automatically standardizes your data, determining its relevance and turning into actionable data.
Automation or robotic process automation employs customized software bots or robots to perform crucial tasks like data mining and processing.
The software bots are coded to perform certain steps and they do so with minimal human supervision for as long as required.
Unlike manual data entry and processing, where the operator can get exhausted and make mistakes, automating your data entry and processing services yields high-quality results with greater accuracy.
Additionally, our proprietary software bots at ARDEM, are capable of performing a series of multi-sequential steps. This means that they can extract data, organize it and even fill in any missing or incomplete information. This is truly the age of the bots!
Data Entry and Real-Time Data Processing
Simply deriving information from dark data is not enough. What use is information if it doesn’t reach you in time? So, you don’t just need to deploy data discovery tools, you also need to find a way to get it processed as soon as possible.
At ARDEM, using our expertise and considerable industry experience we structure an optimized data management system that mines, processes and analyzes your data in real-time.
Our aim is to improve and accelerate your current processes and transform your raw, unstructured data into actionable insights.
In a world of increasing cyber-attacks and data breaches, protecting your data is our top priority.
Rest assured, we have a series of VPNs, SSLs, encryption protocols and security measures already in place to secure your data.
Also, we are GDPR compliant and also have our HIPAA compliances in place to protect sensitive information like PII and PHI. We also employ a series of internal processes to further secure your data. Access is given on a strictly need-to-know basis and the operators cannot download or transfer data. We also keep your data only for the required period. Once the project has been completed, all records are expunged after a specified period.
With our expertise in data security, we could probably talk about it for days. So, how about you give us a call and after signing an NDA, we will tell exactly how we plan to process your data and keep it secure.
The good old adage, what you don’t know can’t hurt you is no longer true, what you don’t know about your business due to dark data can hurt both you and your business.
Don’t let your business stay in the dark, rather light up those dark corners with the bright light of outsourced automation processing.