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Shedding Light on Dark Data

With analysis of the obvious key performance indicators collected within big data now well understood to be a source of competitive advantage, companies are beginning to wonder what else might be hidden in their vast stockpiles of bits and bytes. Hence the dawning of awareness about “dark data.”

* By Carol Miller, MHI Vice President of Marketing and Communications *

In MHI’s first Annual Industry Report, released in 2014, the 450-plus survey respondents viewed big data analytics as their top strategic supply chain priority. Most planned to increase investments in this area with the objective of gaining a competitive advantage. The expectation being—through deeper investigation of the enormous total volume of internal and external information collected by their systems every year—increases in efficiency through predictive analytics.

Fast forward to 2018’s release of the fifth MHI Annual Industry Report—and big data and predictive analytics are still close to the top (number two, after robotics and automation). And, while only 19% of the 1,100-plus surveyed industry leaders report current use of predictive analytics, over the next five years the adoption rate is expected to hit 82%.

With analysis of the obvious key performance indicators collected within big data now well understood to be a source of competitive advantage, companies are beginning to wonder what else might be hidden in their vast stockpiles of bits and bytes.

Hence the dawning of awareness about “dark data.”

Perhaps this is the first time you’ve heard of dark data. Now’s the time to get up to speed on both the risks and rewards associated with what Data Science Central calls “the billion dollar opportunity.” Read on for answers to the questions you may have, and those you haven’t thought of yet.

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Emerging technologies such as IIoT, robotics and artificial intelligence provide exciting opportunities for supply chains. They also mean an exponential growth in the amount of data these supply chains generate. When properly utilized, this data can provide crucial information to improve efficiency, reduce costs, enhance transparency and customer service. But it comes with risk. The more digitized a supply chain becomes, the more it is at risk of cyberattack. Hackers are constantly finding new ways create data breaches they can exploit. The reality that most supply chains require third-party suppliers down the chain only heightens this threat. No matter the scale of your supply chain, it is essential to have solid cybersecurity processes in place to manage and mitigate the growing risk of cyberattack. That’s what this issue of MHI Solutions is all about, from cybersecurity threats in an IIoT world to dark data to the human factor in cybersecurity to blockchain as a potential solution.

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