Big data means big dividends for UK businesses

At its “Accelerate Your Insights” customer event in San Francisco today, Microsoft CEO Satya Nadella stressed the importance of a data culture – one that encourages curiosity, action and experimentation – for everyone, and every organisation. Microsoft also shared the results of new IDC research Infographic below) that shows that companies who take a comprehensive approach to data stand to realise a 60 percent data dividend on their data assets – a worldwide opportunity of 1.6 trillion. For the UK this figure amounts to a massive £52.7 billion.

Back in the UK, we’ve also been assessing the impact of big data on society and business. Dave Coplin, Chief Envisioning Officer for Microsoft UK headlined an event in London which also featured analyst house IDC, not-for-profit Housing Association Charitable Trust (HACT), one of the world’s leading media agency networks MEC Global, and games as a service provider Mediatonic.

In Coplin’s view, most organisations are only just beginning to understand the hidden potential of the power of the data they already hold in their hands. “Slowly, companies are beginning to understand that one of their most valuable assets could be the dark or dusty data sitting largely unused in their corporate databanks. Big data gets really interesting when we look where we link seemingly unrelated data sets and discover correlations that provide deep insight. For example, unusual data mining can help credit card companies to evaluate the risk of default: people who buy anti-scuff pads for their furniture, for example, are highly likely to make their payments. Logistics companies can link databases of accident black spots with its route-planning software, to reduce the number of accidents and wasted time. Comparing hospital readmissions across all patient categories with the information on patient accommodation can pinpoint rooms that are not cleaned properly and may result in fresh infections.”

Dave Bailey, CEO of Mediatonic agrees that most big data insights are currently hidden: “We see big data helping organisations to ingest more information that would otherwise pass by unprocessed; so that we can become smarter and act faster (even pre-emptively). We expect that as a result of this innovation the UK will see more user-centric organisations and better connected people.”

Trevor Attridge, Global Director – Technology at MEC Global believes the opening up of Government data is a key milestone: “With government agencies and departments starting to make available data publically and privately for integration and interrogation, the opportunities to provide improved public services and commercial products is an exciting prospect. The real story for both businesses and government is not about the technology and challenges of acquiring and storing vast volumes of data, but about the people being now able to make informed decisions quicker, being able to collaborate effectively across both internal departments and geographical boundaries and if managed properly and treated with the respect it deserves, has the potential to affect people’s lives in a positive way.”

Coplin concludes by looking at how sensors can aid big data discovery, often referred to as the ‘Internet of things’: “Some companies have started to equip workers with sensors that help monitor movements and interaction. In a trial, Bank of America spotted that a team’s productivity could be boosted by scheduling coffee breaks for the whole team, because it resulted in better collaboration. A technology company discovered that teams became more productive when the tables in the canteen were large enough for 12 people rather than four, because it resulted in more social interaction across the team. It’s these undiscovered insights that make big data truly exciting.”

Further Microsoft insights from today’s event can be found here

The UK Data Dividend
The UK Data Dividend

April 14, 2014