Don't be Afraid of the Dark

24/10/2013 14:27 BST | Updated 23/12/2013 10:12 GMT

Looming before business organisations is an opportunity in disguise: dark data. With specialist skills, it can be captured in a readable, scalable format and increase productivity and customer loyalty, giving you a competitive advantage. Bill McDermott, the co-CEO of SAP, a multinational enterprise software corporation, declares 'War on dark data,' stating that it outweighs your company's overall collected data with 98%, either stored in your bottom desk-drawer that could turn a no-sale to a repeat customer or in computer systems that require intelligent analysis. As the wise Shakespeare man professed, 'I say there is no darkness but ignorance,' in order to make your hidden gems of information valuable, empower your company with a relevant resource.

import•io, founded in 2012 by David White, Andrew Fogg and Matt Painter, is one solution that brings light upon this initially complex, inaccessible data. Using Kusiri technology secrets, import•io is a business to business service built to democratise data by giving access to competitor's information and a platform to create you pricing dataset. With a customised live stream based on market trends, watch ten sources to form your new strategy. For example, the creative industry has broken into dark data to supply the freedom of sharing with a new personalised format - NewHive is a live stream of contemporary art to your browse and a self-proclaimed 'blank canvas for the web' and Boxes is a virtual mobile space for proud owners to organise, buy and sell possessions. All in all, big data is used as a bridge to significant material that gives a sharp edge to your business's USP.

A customer-focused strategy is always a winning one - by surfacing all the 'dark' customer information, a company has a much more accurate view of the customer rather than settling for the basic minimum, otherwise known as the 'classic enterprise data.' This 'could increase [a firm's] operating margin by more than 60%,' according to McKinsey Research in 2012. 'With the use of Big Data, users of services enabled by personal-location data could capture $600 billion in consumer surplus."

As with Mobile First, the Dark Data strategy focuses on customer retention from a technological point of view, via the social media, website and mobile data. This gives a great advantage for start-ups, as it minimises the costs of getting hold of consumer intelligence on a deeper level, such as CRM (customer relationship management), providing data on employees' interactions with customers, clients, and sales prospects. Retailers can now look beyond historical transactional information. By seeing its customer's interactions and social networking activities, a more emphatic promotion can be built to target the customer's preferences. Too often managers neglect this valuable source of revenue, so being aware of brand perception, customer's second-choice stores and their personal network is, although requires sufficient time, gives a generous results in the long-run.

As well as the financial rewards of one-to-one marketing opportunities, using dark data put a stamp on your business as a proactive competitor, making you more valuable to investors. Decoding the benefits is both challenging and exciting, giving opportunities for young talent and technology enthusiasts to enter your business - and definitely worth it. So when your company is 'Deep into that darkness peering [...] wondering, fearing, doubting, dreaming dreams no mortal ever dared to dream before,' (Edgar Allan Poe) dream big and fear not the friendly giant that is dark data.

Words by Nicole Stevenson for chloédigital.