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Big data has a big value

Written by Josh Russell on Friday, 14 September 2012. Posted in Enterprise, Technology

Apparently it pays to be informed – research shows a fifth of businesses place a financial value on their data

Big data has a big value

Whilst the quote attributed to Thomas Jefferson, “information is the currency of democracy”, is almost certainly apocryphal, it does carry a definite kernel of truth. In a world of analytics and data capture, the price we place on information has never been higher. And it seems it’s not just marketing teams who are placing a pound value on data – research from analytics provider SAS has shown that one in five large UK businesses assign a financial figure to the their data. 

The worth of your data really cannot be overestimated. A study by the Centre for Economics and Business Research recently calculated that better utilisation of big data – data sets which are particularly complex, either being ‘high-volume’, ‘high-velocity’ or ‘high-variety’ – could potentially add £216bn to the economy over the next five years, which is over a fifth of the UK’s net debt.

Fortunately UK companies are starting to recognise this. According to the SAS report, over two-fifths of CFOs believe that effective use of data can help to drive their businesses’ growth. This figure rises to 57% for larger companies and to nearly three-quarters in the case of ventures that have assessed the value of their data. Being able to put a cash value on your data is clearly a key step in making the best use of it.

But exactly how can data be utilised to improve your business? According to The Evolution of Decision-Making, a report from Harvard Business Review Analytic Services, 73% of UK businesses have benefitted from the use of analytics. As a result of utilising their data over two-thirds have seen improved financial performance, 65% have been able to introduce cost reductions and well over half felt it had resulted in faster decision-making. Given the Harvard Business Review study also revealed that two in every five businesses felt analytics were underused in their organisation, this definitely forms a strong case for making the most of your data.

About the Author

Josh Russell

Josh Russell

Our former editor, Russell was the man in charge of properly apostrophising our publication and ensuring Oxford commas are mercilessly excised. Our former digital doyen, he’s also a Photoshop pro, a dab hand with InDesign and the man to go to if you need a four-hour soliloquy about the UK's best silicon startups.

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