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Dark data: the invisible resource that can drive performance now

Gregory Gimpel (Department of Computer Information Systems, Georgia State University, Atlanta, Georgia, USA)

Journal of Business Strategy

ISSN: 0275-6668

Article publication date: 8 May 2020

Issue publication date: 7 July 2021




This paper aims to provide guidance so firms can enter the Internet of Things (IoT) era today – and realize its data-driven benefits – by using IoT “dark data” already generated by their operations.


This study draws upon data from original expert interviews and an extensive study of over 1,200 research articles and white papers to provide managerial guidance for exploiting IoT dark data.


Many companies are held back from entering the IoT era today, not by technological issues, but by matters addressable by managerial and strategic leadership. Executives must build dark data awareness among their employees and use non-traditional measures to predict return on investment. The study shares expert advice for accomplishing both of these efforts.

Research limitations/implications

Only 3 out of 1,202 research articles addressed IoT dark data. This paper helps fill this gap in understanding.

Practical implications

This study provides normative guidelines for managers and executives to increase awareness of the dark IoT data that exist within their organizations and to motivate the investments needed to exploit this data to improve business performance.


This research provides guidance for companies to benefit from the IoT today. This study provides an alternate, pragmatic view of Industry 4.0 that focuses on current business reality rather than futurist visions.



Gimpel, G. (2021), "Dark data: the invisible resource that can drive performance now", Journal of Business Strategy, Vol. 42 No. 4, pp. 223-232.



Emerald Publishing Limited

Copyright © 2020, Emerald Publishing Limited

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