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When is Data No Longer Valuable?

Monday 25 September 2017


We should stop using the term ‘big data’. In today’s data driven economy, the moniker ‘huge data’ is much more apt. And it’s going exponential.

Estimates suggest that the digital universe will continue to double every two years at least and reach 44 zettabytes by 2020. That’s a 50-fold growth compared to 2010. But with such a proliferation of data – the good, the bad and let’s face it, the downright ugly - how do companies put a value on it?

We often hear about how valuable big data is, but at some stage, all data becomes obsolete. So when do we assess this has happened, at what stage is data no longer a valuable resource?

There are no simple answers. With the rise of machine based learning, it is only now that the value of big data is starting to be realised through proficient analysis and actionable insights. According to IDC, the market for big data analytics will soar from $130 billion in 2016 to more than $203 billion in 2020.

This is where data scientists earn their crust, as the sheer size of the data lake is staggering. But how well are organisations currently using their data?

Most aren’t doing a very good job. According to research from Veritas, 52% of all information currently stored and processed by organisations is considered dark data, which has an unknown value. A further 33% is classed as redundant, obsolete or trivial data: appropriately abbreviated to ROT. So only 15% of all stored data can be classified as business critical information, according to the study. 

Although some data has great value, it seems the majority of data in the average business is obsolete or of little or no value. The costs to manage, maintain and store this data can be astronomical. Businesses need to attract the best talent in the field of data science and analysis to help them extract maximum value, while ditching the data that has little value with burdensome costs.   

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