Dark analytics. It sounds like a concept from the Matrix film trilogy, but it’s really an untapped resource that could be costing Australian businesses thousands. This is the process of analysing dark data, which Gartner defines as “the information assets organisations collect, process and store during regular business activities, but generally fail to use for other purposes”.

Think information that you’ve stored for compliance or record-keeping, but never used for anything else. Dark analytics is how you interpret this unstructured information, and fashion those spare parts into strong business tools – and it’s increasingly crucial in app development.

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With dark analytics, you can accelerate development cycles

It’s an agile world, and we’re just living in it. As businesses move away from waterfall working models and adopt agility, the key to success becomes your ability to identify inefficiencies in a cycle and eliminate or automate them. Dark analytics can show you the way to do that.

Dark analytics shines a light on the data you aren’t able to use.

In app development, analytics is typically applied at the Big Data level, capturing and interpreting user activity to improve developer output. With dark analytics, you can analyse the behaviour of your own teams too.

Think about the volumes of data that QA engineers, developers and designers create throughout a single dev cycle. Information from emails, archived systems, ZIP files and even previous unfinished projects or code snippets can be used to identify where things have gone wrong, where they went right, and how your team can improve on them in the future.

It’s information that’s just sitting there – app developers owe it to themselves to capitalise on it.


With dark analytics, you can adopt new market dimensions

Age, gender, location, device – the dimensions for tracking data from users are clear. But by harnessing dark data, there are untold opportunities to measure and break into new markets.

Dark analytics can help you build networks and find new market dimensions.

For example, Deloitte recently conducted a case study with Indiana University Health (IU Health) as it worked to tap into dark analytics. IU Health began by finding ways of capturing data from handwritten notes and audio recorded from patient conversations to enhance its understanding of the diagnostic process, before going a step further.

IU Health looked at dimensions it had never surveyed before, using dark analytics to compare seemingly unrelated pieces of information (like living in high-density areas and engagement with health services) to glean new insights into their audience.

For the crowded app development industry, this kind of insight can break crucial new ground in expanding market reach.


With dark analytics, you can prevent data hoarding

This problem is a favourite of Gartner. Their research director Alan Dayley recently bemoaned an “unstructured data nightmare” caused by both growth in data volumes and how much of this is left unstructured.

Examples include server log files and even details of customer feedback that slip through the analytics cracks. Many businesses hold onto this data with a ‘just in case’ mentality, creating massive stockpiles of information that become extremely expensive to maintain.

By adopting dark analytics, app developers can start sifting through the unstructured nightmare and working out what information they can use, what can feasibly be removed or which operational apps can be decommissioned.

Has your company found the best way to deal with its data?

Data hoarding is the equivalent of putting every single item you use in rubbish bins out back, and never emptying them. With dark analytics, you establish a system that puts some of that to good use and lets you clear out the rest.

Think about how much information your business has stored, and how much of it is useful. Gartner believes that by 2021, 80 per cent of organisations won’t have a data security policy to deal with this kind of problem. To get ahead of the curve, start shining a light on your dark data – or get in touch with the team at Techwitty.

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