UK firms lagging other countries in use of big data

Billy Bambrough
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Companies are still trying to figure out how to best make use of their data (Source: Getty)

Businesses are failing to make the most of big data despite technological advances, according to accountancy giant PwC.

Research has shown the UK to be lagging behind other major economies in using data as part of daily business operations. Less than a third of UK organisations (30 per cent) claim to be highly data-driven, compared to 45 per cent of those in the US and 53 per cent in China.

More than half of UK respondents (59 per cent) said they mostly use data analytics as a backwards looking tool to analyse previous performance, while only a quarter (24 per cent) use analytics to predict what would or could happen. Only 13 per cent of respondents used data to determine what should happen and why.

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“It’s clear that organisations know data is important, but are not yet properly leveraging it to supplement human judgment,” said Yann Bonduelle, consulting data analytics partner at PwC.

“The great majority of organisations are using data to look backwards and are missing out on the great advantages that tools such as predictive analytics can bring to a company’s success.”

UK respondents reported data and analytics to be the second most important factor (33 per cent) in decision making, almost on par with experience and intuition (34 per cent), whilst also relying heavily on external advice (25 per cent).

The survey revealed the importance of data and analytics in decision making is still rising however, with just 23 per cent claiming to be highly data-driven in 2014.

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Last month IBM’s global head of consulting and managing partner warned of a looming skills gap in the future because not enough people are being trained to meet the rise in companies' demand for big data and analytics.

“Getting the skills required to analyse and manage all of this data is going to be difficult,” Sanjay Brahmawar told the World Manufacturing Forum.