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Dark Data, Light Data, and Agility

“Agile” is the operative word in today’s IT world. If you’re not agile, you’re not cutting it in the technology business. And if you work with data, staying agile means being able to turn “dark data” into “light data” instantly.

Dark Data, Light Data, and Agility

To explain what I mean by that, let me first define the terms:

  • Agile is a word used by programmers and system admins to describe an approach to software development and deployment that is flexible and scalable. The idea behind the agile mindset is to move away from the legacy world, where rigid frameworks and vendor lock-in constrained the way software was produced and managed, and enter a new world where organizations can adapt quickly to changing technological needs and opportunities.
  • Dark data refers to data that an organization collects but does not use. In most cases, the data remains unused – and therefore “dark” – for one of two reasons: Either because of issues accessing it or a failure to build it into data analytics workflows. (Related: 4 Ways to Use Dark Data)
  • Light data is the opposite of dark data. Light data is data that you collect effectively and use to achieve business insights. 

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Staying Agile in a World of Data

The idea of being agile is used first and foremost in the world of software development. But it can and should be extended to data management as well.

If you develop software, being agile means that you can switch to new development frameworks quickly, scale your application without limit and so on.

Similarly, being agile when it comes to data management means the ability to derive value quickly from whatever type of data you collect, no matter where it is generated or stored.

In other words, if you have an agile data management process in place, you enjoy the ability to make the most of your data, no matter what the circumstances. You work with your data in whichever ways make the most sense for your business goals, rather than being constrained by details of your data management environment.

Dark Data, Light Data and Agile Data Management

Dark Data, Light Data and Agility

Being able to translate dark data into light data is a vital element of staying agile from a data management perspective.

If your data remains dark, you’re not agile because you are not making the most of the data available to you. You’re missing out on the valuable insights you could derive from the data.

So, to achieve agility, you need to ensure that you are turning dark data into light data whenever you need. For most organizations, this means the ability to offload data from inaccessible storage environments, such as mainframes, into modern analytics platforms, like Hadoop. There, data that was once dark can become light because it can be integrated into the rest of your analytics workflow.

Syncsort’s DMX-h and other Big Data solutions help you achieve this type of data-management agility by turning dark data light. To learn more about how organizations are using tools like Syncsort’s to drive digital transformation with their data, check out Syncsort’s annual Hadoop Market Adoption Survey.

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