Big data leads to big bottom line growth says Nesta

Antony Savvas

Businesses can become more profitable and productive if they use their online customer data effectively, according to research from innovation foundation Nesta.

Nesta said big data has been touted as a "vital resource" for business but that there has been little hard evidence of its positive impact on the bottom-line, until now.

It says its research found that businesses that make greater use of their online customer data - those that collect, analyse and deploy data - are 8 to 11 percent more productive as a result.

Nesta says greater data analysis leads to higher profitability too. It generates a return on equity that is 4.3 percent higher, and leads to a boost in profits of £3,180 per employee, according to the research among 500 UK companies across various industries.

The study also found that businesses that grant their employees greater autonomy to make decisions, report a productivity premium from data use that is almost four times as high as those with centralised decision-making.

Hasan Bakhshi, creative economy, policy and research director at Nesta, said: "Believe the hype - our research shows that data has clear benefits for businesses, but collecting it alone is not enough.

"Businesses must analyse their data and create an environment where workers are empowered to use it to generate positive returns. Our report makes a strong case that no business should ignore its data."