Report: Big data to add £216bn to the UK economy

By Sooraj Shah
05 Apr 2012 View Comments
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Analytics for big data could contribute £216bn to the UK economy and create 58,000 new jobs over the next five years, according to a study by research firm The Centre for Economic and Business Research (CEBR) and business analytics provider SAS.

The report, entitled Data Equity: Unlocking the value of big data, aimed to find out the economic impact of big data on the UK economy.

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The report calculated that big data contributed about £25.1bn to the UK economy in 2011 and this is forecast to reach £40.7bn by 2017. It also said that big data analytics adoption will also increase from 34 per cent in 2011 to 54 per cent in 2017.

CEBR said that big data will benefit the UK economy in three ways: business creation, efficiency and innovation.

It said that the 58,000 jobs created would largely be data specialist roles.

However, Charles Randall, analytics product manager at SAS UK & Ireland, said that this large increase in necessary jobs raises concerns as to where people with the right skills are going to come from.

"There is a need for skilled workers and that's why SAS are investing in the grass roots level of students at school to support them with their education in subjects like maths, science and engineering," he said.

Of the other findings, the financial services and investment banks had the highest level of adoption of big data analytics solutions. However, CEBR forecast that the manufacturing sector will benefit the most from high-performance analytics and will increase its output by £8.1bn by 2017.

Speaking to Computing, Shehan Mohammed, economist at CEBR, explained what the study entailed.

"What we've essentially done is to examine what the effect of big data analytics is when you implement this around businesses in a range of sectors, and how this technology is used to unlock the inherent economic value that is stored in the form of data across these businesses."

Mohammed explained that the next step was to determine the current and prospective rates of big data analytics take-up.

Finally, the research firm calculated the aggregate economy-wide benefits of big data by each sector.

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