Putting value on Big Data

Data is clearly valuable to the companies that collect it. But how valuable is it to the wider economy?

The value of data to others, though, is harder to capture. In some cases, such as credit rating agencies, the value of data is how much consumers, or companies, are willing to pay for it.

For businesses in sectors such as financial services, manufacturing, or retail, the value of data might be more specific to the firm: cutting down on waste, reducing lost sales opportunities, for example through items being out of stock, or encouraging customers to spend more with them, by offering more targeted products, and services at the right time.

It is this group, for now, which creates the most economic value through big data. And in aggregate, those data are worth significant sums to the economy. Cebr calculates that the equity in big data could add 216bn to the UK economy by 2013, and create 58,000 jobs. For Ireland, big data is worth 27 billion over the same timescale.

But unlocking the potential of data is not just an IT issue. Of course, IT has a key role to play in securing and storing data, and making it accessible to the business. It is the business, though, that has to turn data into profits.

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Stephen Pritchard is a contributing editor at IT Pro.

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