Tools & tech

The Business of Data report from the Economist Intelligence Unit (EIU)

The Economist Intelligence Unit (EIU) has published the Business of Data report. It examines how companies are positioning themselves to benefit from the opportunities offered by data technologies.

In introducing the report, the authors alert that while more organisations are collecting and storing large amounts of data, making direct profits from it can prove difficult.

The report is based on a cross-industry survey of 476 executives and insights from the leaders of organisations considered to be at the forefront of the emerging data industry.

Key findings include that:

  • More companies want to profit from their data
  • Investment in new technologies will grow
  • Data is becoming vital to decision-making
  • Consumer privacy and data security remain concerns

A notable finding is that companies are using their data for evidence-based decision-making:

Many companies are also learning from the data they generate: 29% of those polled say that big data has prompted them to operate in new industries or markets, and 29% to generate new revenue from existing products or services. Only 8% of respondents say that it has not meaningfully changed the way they do business. Big data is also leading companies to new technology; this is especially the case in banking (stated by 74% of the sector’s respondents), where regulation and compliance requirements for institutions to generate, monitor and report on customer information are a major factor in day-to-day operations.

Bruce Boyes

Bruce Boyes ( is editor, lead writer, and a director of the award-winning RealKM Magazine ( and currently also teaches in the University of NSW (UNSW) Foundation Studies program in China. He has expertise and experience in a wide range of areas including knowledge management (KM), environmental management, program and project management, writing and editing, stakeholder engagement, communications, and research. Bruce holds a Master of Environmental Management with Distinction and a Certificate of Technology (Electronics). With a demonstrated ability to identify and implement innovative solutions to social and ecological complexity, Bruce's many career highlights include establishing RealKM Magazine as an award-winning resource for knowledge managers, using agile and knowledge management approaches to oversee the implementation of an award-winning $77.4 million river recovery program in western Sydney on time and under budget, leading a knowledge strategy process for Australia's 56 natural resource management (NRM) regional organisations, pioneering collaborative learning and governance approaches to support communities to sustainably manage landscapes and catchments, and initiating and teaching two new knowledge management subjects at Shanxi University in China.

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