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Press Release

Better Use of Big Data is Key to Unlocking Growth

Independent Research of Senior Business and Public Sector Leaders, Commissioned by EMC, Reveals that Data Holds the Keys to Growth – but Only 44% Know What Big Data Analytics Are

Story Highlights

  • EMC announced findings of its research into attitudes towards, knowledge of, and buying plans around the use of ‘big data’ in the United Kingdom’s public and private sectors.
  • 60% of private sector and 45% of public sector respondents say ‘making better use of customer insights, trend data, and information in and around the business’ will unlock growth and innovation.
  • Only 44% of respondents recognised a suggested industry view on the correct definition of big data analytics.
  • The prime potential for big data analytics? Improved services to the customer (50% of all respondents) and improved departmental efficiency (47% of public sector participants).
  • Research findings coincide with the launch of an EMC-supported Policy Exchange report recommending the establishment of a new Data Force to help drive savings of up to £33bn per year and unlock a new class of citizen-centric services.
LONDON, UK, 3 July, 2012 - 

EMC (NYSE: EMC) today announced the findings of its research into attitudes towards, knowledge of, and buying plans around the use of ‘Big Data’ in the United Kingdom’s public and private sectors. The study of 550 senior management personnel from those sectors reveals that better analytics and use of data – both corporate-owned and publicly-available – is seen as the key to unlocking growth.

Unlocking Growth and Innovation

60% of respondents said that making better use of internal and external customer insights, trend data and information is the most important factor in unlocking the next wave of growth for organisations, compared to traditional methods including cost cutting, squeezing suppliers on margins and coming up with the next ‘big idea’. In the public sector, better use of data (45%) ranked alongside doing more with less (45%) as the equal top drivers for growth.

Big Data Know-how and Current Investments

Despite the importance of data in unlocking growth in UK organisations, only 44% of respondents were able to identify the accurate definition of the term ‘Big Data analytics’ as a set of technologies and techniques that draws together insights from multiple data-sets to provide real-time insight on specific issues1. This figure increases to 55% for those who work in financial services and 46% in the public sector – but falls to 35% in retail and wholesale.

Despite lower than anticipated awareness, it may appear surprising that the senior decision-makers of these organisations are currently committing an average of nearly a fifth (19%) of their annual IT budget to Big Data analytics, corresponding to as much as £3.4bn a year by UKTI estimates of public sector IT-spend. Even those with no formal plans to implement the technology seem to have already allocated budget, pointing to an appetite for assessing the potential Big Data could bring.

Big Data – The Expected Impact

Crucially, businesses in the private sector are already recognising the areas in which Big Data can make an impact, including improvements to:

  • Services to the customer (50%)
  • Powering strategic decisions (41%)
  • Achieving growth (41%)

43% of business leaders plan to adopt Big Data technology in the next year.

In comparison, the public sector highlighted improvements to:

  • Departmental efficiency (47%)
  • Cross-department data quality (42%)
  • The delivery of citizen-centric services (39%)
  • Patient care and outcomes (65%)
  • Optimising the delivery of benefits (65%)
  • Tax efficiency (55%)
  • Helping find criminals faster (44%)

74% of respondents are considering the adoption of Big Data analytics in some form.

The research findings coincide with the launch of an EMC-supported Policy Exchange report, recommending that a new Data Force reporting to the Prime Minister should be established to help the public sector achieve savings of up to £33 billion a year and unlock a new class of citizen-centric services. Please visit the Policy Exchange blog to read the report and join the discussion on the potential for public sector transformation with Big Data.

EMC Executive Quote:

James Petter, VP and Managing Director, EMC UK

“Given a context of austerity and recession, the recognition that there is potential for Big Data to drive growth and cost efficiency in the public and private sectors is very positive news. This research, and the findings of the Policy Exchange report, reinforce the idea that Big Data could be a catalyst for the development of a new wave of business models and citizen-centric government services to deliver billions of pounds in savings – and corresponding growth for the economy.”

Policy Exchange comment:

Chris Yiu, Head of Digital Government, Policy Exchange

“Government departments hold huge amounts of public data - from tax credits and welfare payments to passport details and health records. Finding ways to analyse and link this data together has the potential to save time for citizens and money for taxpayers.”

Analyst comment:

Georgina O’Toole, Director, TechMarketView

“Though the benefits to Government differ to those in the Enterprise, the potential of Big Data Analytics in the public sector shouldn’t be underestimated. For example, it isn’t hard to envisage better policy making through improved social science research, better NHS outcomes through improved use of patient data, or savings to the public purse as a result of increased fraud detection. However, it seems inevitable that some central direction will be required to answer questions around, for example, data ownership, data storage, and privacy issues. A centralised approach would also help prevent duplication of efforts across departments and agencies”.

The survey also revealed the biggest barriers to big data analytics, with concerns around privacy and data protection, alongside regulation, featuring highly on respondents’ lists. Significantly, 85% of business leaders in the financial services sector rate concerns around privacy as a major barrier for the technology, with the figure remaining high (67%) when viewed across all sectors. Similarly, the majority of respondents (70%) would find a code of conduct useful to ensure privacy and other regulations are adhered to. This chimes with the Policy Exchange’s recommendation for a Code for Responsible Analytics in its report launched today.

1 - The complete list of options for the definition of Big Data analytics, as presented to the survey respondents, is as follows:

  • Larger and larger files that need storing in your organisation’s IT infrastructure
  • Data-sets that grow so large they become awkward and unwieldy
  • A set of technologies that draws together insights from multiple data-sets to provide real-time analysis on specific issues in an organisation
  • Tools that let you analyse your business data retrospectively to make better business decisions based on historical data
  • Tools that tell you who and how many people have visited a website to provide you with marketing insights
  • A data centre that physically holds more than 12 petabytes of data
  • Something relating to cloud computing
  • I’m not sure/don’t know

Additional Resources:

About the research:

The research was carried out by Vanson Bourne in June 2012. Vanson Bourne interviewed 550 senior decision-makers within the UK, with 400 from the private sector and 150 from the public sector.

About EMC

EMC Corporation is a global leader in enabling businesses and service providers to transform their operations and deliver IT as a service. Fundamental to this transformation is cloud computing. Through innovative products and services, EMC accelerates the journey to cloud computing, helping IT departments to store, manage, protect and analyse their most valuable asset – information – in a more agile, trusted and cost-efficient way. More information can be found at

Press Contacts

Matt Buckley
+44 (0) 20 8758 5603

This release contains “forward-looking statements” as defined under the Federal Securities Laws. Actual results could differ materially from those projected in the forward-looking statements as a result of certain risk factors, including but not limited to: (i) adverse changes in general economic or market conditions; (ii) delays or reductions in information technology spending; (iii) the relative and varying rates of product price and component cost declines and the volume and mixture of product and services revenues; (iv) competitive factors, including but not limited to pricing pressures and new product introductions; (v) component and product quality and availability; (vi) fluctuations in VMware, Inc.’s operating results and risks associated with trading of VMware stock; (vii) the transition to new products, the uncertainty of customer acceptance of new product offerings and rapid technological and market change; (viii) risks associated with managing the growth of our business, including risks associated with acquisitions and investments and the challenges and costs of integration, restructuring and achieving anticipated synergies; (ix) the ability to attract and retain highly qualified employees; (x) insufficient, excess or obsolete inventory; (xi) fluctuating currency exchange rates; (xii) threats and other disruptions to our secure data centers or networks; (xiii) our ability to protect our proprietary technology; (xiv) war or acts of terrorism; and (xv) other one-time events and other important factors disclosed previously and from time to time in the filings of EMC Corporation, the parent company of RSA, with the U.S. Securities and Exchange Commission. EMC and RSA disclaim any obligation to update any such forward-looking statements after the date of this release.

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