Posted by: Katherine Raleigh
Programme Manager on Tue 18 Jul

At the latest Innovation Day, KnowledgeBrief clients explored the need for all organisations to take Big Data and its potential to create value seriously if they want to stay ahead.

At July’s Innovation Day, Dawn Holmes, Manchester Business School, shared her research and expertise on how organisations can take better advantage of the data they have. She gave an in-depth presentation on what you can get from Big Data, what you can link and what you can make use of.

Here are some key insights:

  • Don’t begin with data. Many organisations first look at the sources they have and see what value the data can possibly create. Instead, turn it upside down. The key is to start with a question – what do you want to achieve – and then work backwards to identify what information you need to deliver it.
  • Be deliberate about what data you are looking for. The key is to identify what you have and what you can get access to. Don’t think about data as only numbers, think also in terms of reports, words, pictures, videos, etc. Distinguish between different categories of data1: existing, generated, acquired, customer, open, social media, and web crawled.
  • Data doesn’t only sit within technology. Many organisations are challenged by a lack of technical expertise. However, you can outsource IT to get the data analysis started. The key is to make sure that the needs for customers and commercial, as well as technical, are equally met.
  • Ask what happens if you don’t use data. It can be difficult to measure the direct impact on ROI when it comes to Big Data, but organisations may have to take a calculated risk. Developments in, for example, automation, mass-customisation or servitization are rapidly increasing due to Big Data. Find the commitment to take your data to the next level.

These are just some key highlights taken from July’s Innovation Day. Each month, clients of the Innovation Programme receive a full ACT report, capturing the guest expert’s research, the implications and next steps for leaders to apply back in their team and organisation. For more information, please get in touch.

Next, clients – including HH Global, Dimensions and Gloucestershire CCG – will explore how to become a smarter organisation. For more information, please view the Innovation Day page.

Sources: 1Hartmann, P. M., Zaki, M., Feldmann, N. and Neely, A. (2014) ‘Big Data for Big Business?’, Cambridge Service Alliance Blog, pp. 1–29. Available at:; Holmes, D. (2017) ‘Big Data’, KnowledgeBrief Innovation Day Presentation, 12 July.

Find the commitment to take your data to the next level.

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