UK businesses should look across the Atlantic when it comes to adopting Big Data.

American Dr Ronald Dyer is a lecturer in project management at the University of Liverpool, having previously held a number of big business roles including on Wall Street at Goldman Sachs and Citi-Bank.

He told a Big Data conference at the International Festival for Business that data is nothing new but said the Americans have a different approach to it.

“Big organisations have been using what we now know as Big Data since the 1990s,” he said.

“It was initially called data mining then data mining/warehousing.

“For instance Bloomberg and Thomson Reuters have been big data businesses for over 20 years.

“They have primarily used the data for aggregation of stock performance, trend analysis and forecasting and position reporting.

“The US is very data-centric and there is much use of it to drive decisions.

“Most US-based companies have embraced the big data phenomena hence the rise in data scientist.

“The UK has seen some advances in the use of big data. There is still much work to be done.”

IFB Big Data conference

He said the key is to understand Big Data to make evidenced-based business decisions.

“Data is nothing if people don’t understand it,” said Dyer. 

“There is a basic rule to follow: metadata, data, information, knowledge then insights.

“It is the threshold between the last two that allows for factual decision-making.

“The data provides the lens through which businesses need to look.”

Garry Partington (pictured centre), chief executive and co-founder of Manchester-based RealityMine, told the same conference that Big Data without big insights is a big waste of time.

Follow the conference timeline below.