Organisations are ignoring potentially valuable data and do not have the resources to take advantage of it, and although they recognise the value of using all of their data, most do not even know whether this information exists or how to find, prepare, analyse or use it.
That is according to the State of Dark Data Report, built using research conducted by True Global Intelligence and directed by Splunk, which surveyed more than 1,300 global business managers and IT leaders in the UK, the US, France, Germany, China, Japan, and Australia.
The purpose of the study was to discover how companies collect, manage and use data. In an era where data is connecting devices, systems and people at unprecedented growth rates, the results show that while data is top of mind, action is often far behind.
While over three-quarters (76%) of those surveyed agree "the organisation that has the most data is going to win", three-fifths (60%) of them said that more than half of their organisations’ data is dark, and one-third of respondents say more than 75% of their organization’s data is dark.
When it comes to the main three obstacles to recovering dark data, the sheer volume of data comes out on top, followed by the lack of necessary skill sets and resources.
While respondents understand the value of dark data, they admit they do not have the tools, expertise or staff to take advantage of it. In addition, more than half of respondents (53%) said they were too old to learn new data skills when asked what they were doing to educate themselves and their teams.
Data is the future of work, but only a small percentage of professionals seem to be taking it seriously. Respondents agree there is no single answer, though the top solutions included training more employees in data science and analytics, increasing funding for data wrangling, and deploying software to enable less technical employees to analyse the data for themselves.
Nearly all (92%) say they are "willing" to learn new data skills but only 57% are "extremely" or "very" enthusiastic to work more with data.
Globally, respondents believe AI will generally augment opportunities, rather than replace people. While the survey revealed that few (12%) organisations are using AI right now, a majority (71%) see its vast potential. For example, in a series of use cases including operational efficiency, strategic decision making, HR and customer experience, only 10 to 15% say their organisations are deploying AI for these use cases while roughly two-thirds see the potential value.
There are some key differences in the UK-specific results. For example, 39% of Brits believe AI can make up for the skills gap versus only 27% globally. UK employees are also the most likely in the world to say they need to learn more data skills in order to get promoted again, 83% compared to the global figure of 76%.
Splunk chief technology officer Tim Tully said: "Data is hard to work with because it’s growing at an alarming rate and is hard to structure and organise. So, it’s easy for organisations to feel helpless in this chaotic landscape.
"I was pleased to see the opportunity people around the world attach to dark data, even though fewer than a third of those surveyed say they have the skills to turn data into action. This presents a tremendous opportunity for motivated leaders, professionals and employers to learn new skills and reach a new level of results."