Here at ActiveNav, after many years of experience in the information governance market receiving great reviews and loyalty from customers, we’ve adopted what we like to call our ‘North Star ’ essentially a vision to align and empower our people with our customers. It’s been an important and relatively recent change galvanized by a few key triggers:


  • Investment in our new Cloud service to transform our offerings and make an opportunity of the COVID pandemic.

  • Internal feedback from our operational leadership about the value of a defining vision to empower our people.

  • Response to a lack of clarity in the market about fundamental value of data discovery to governance and compliance.

So, first, let’s remind ourselves of what a North Star Strategy is, why we need one and what it provides for any business.

Our North Star provides us a broad and unifying ‘raison d'être’ (our reason for being) which informs our actions across all aspects of our business, from marketing and sales through customer success and product right through to business operations. We also think it sets us apart from the competition, creating compelling differentiation from the rest of the market and especially the big players which make so much noise and yet appear (or from our experience) to continually fail to deliver.

Perhaps most importantly, our North Star sets a goal that aligns with where our customers are and where they are headed; a vision so big and lofty, that every day we need to spend time reflecting on how we’ve moved closer to that goal. So, “what is that North Star?” you might ask.


When it comes to data, most organizations tend to be great at 4 things: COLLECTING, PROCESSING, STORING AND IGNORING. Every organization, whether it realizes it or not, is cultivating its own equivalent of “the dark web” – “a corporate a web” if you will. It’s a place that’s dirty and messy. A neglected nether region inside the enterprise that’s full of toxic, pernicious, insidious and opaque digital information. This data is full of risk and completely worthless in its current state.

What’s in all this dark data? Two things are guaranteed: risk and untapped opportunity. Dark data, if ignored, leads to major privacy violations, security breaches, competitive disadvantages and reputational damage. And, in all cases, significant cost. While most organizations realize they are storing dark data, most alarmingly there is typically no one at an executive level who is accountable for recognizing the scope and magnitude of the risks and opportunities and, actually solving the problem.

For our North Star, we want our customers to imagine a world where they are no longer burdened under the weight of their dark data. A world where they can extract value and insights from ALL their data. The fact is the faster, easier and more accurately data can be leveraged, the better organizations can compete and achieve their missions and, in doing so, avoid the ugly consequences of dark data.

This is what customers say they struggle with. They’ve tried to deal with it in many ways. Spent countless hours and millions of dollars on consultants, developing policies, training their staff and implementing new repositories and collaboration and messaging solutions.

We ask our customers and staff to imagine again a world of no more dark data… A world of Zero Dark Data.

Zero Dark Data is a state in which an organization can effectively understand, classify and control ALL of their unstructured data for the purpose of protecting, securing, and governing it, achieving compliance and extracting business value. It’s an aspiration and a destination. A declaration and a mission.

So, here at ActiveNav, we’re continually working towards a future in which dark data, for all intents and purposes, is eradicated. By making it faster and easier for enterprises to discover, identify, classify, score and act on. Zero Dark Data is concrete and vivid, and, frankly, a bit audacious. But it’s not just a tagline. Make no mistake, Zero Dark Data also represents a tangible and meaningful benefit and value to all organizations.

You can learn more about how we approach this North Star across our website and social media profile. However, to recommend a great next stop for reading, why not take a look at our blog series ‘getting better at storing less data’.

Peter Baumann