Students Staff

14 October 2016

What can Big Data do for businesses?

Professor Vania Sena

Professor Vania Sena

Researchers from Essex are encouraging businesses of all sizes to make better use of their data to aid business performance and benefit society.

Professor Vania Sena, from Essex Business School, believes that small and medium businesses often don’t realise the potential of the data they already hold or those they could collect.

Professor Sena, who is also Director of the University-based Business and Local Government Data Research Centre (BLGRDC), said: “Smaller organisations are often sitting on a goldmine of information which could take their business to the next level, develop their strategy and secure their future. These businesses could, and should, look at Big Data in the same way that many larger corporations do and use their data to increase productivity and profit.

“At Essex Business School, and within the wider Faculty of Social Sciences, we are exploring the use of data by all types of businesses and other organisations. We believe that if businesses ignore their data, or simply do not realise what their data is telling them, then they could be missing out on huge opportunities and be losing out to the competition.”

A recent study found that “companies in the top third of their industry in the use of data-driven decision making were, on average, 5% more productive and 6% more profitable than their competitors”.

Professor Sena will introduce a panel discussion on these themes on Thursday 20 October, 5.30pm, at Essex Business School at the University’s Colchester Campus. The free event ‘Big Data in Business: Help or Hindrance?’ will be chaired by Professor Neil Kellard, also from Essex Business School, who will be joined by Jasmine Birtles (Founder, Money Magpie), Helen Simpson (Professor, University of Bristol) and Ian Hutchinson (Lead Software Developer, Projects by IF).

During the event the expert panelists will demonstrate that Big Data exists in businesses from the local shop to multinational corporations, and explore the opportunities to use this data to empower business and enhance public policy. There will also be a chance for the audience to put their own questions to the panel and find out more about what data could do for them.

This talk is the second in a series of five events this autumn which are discussing what Big Data is, why it is important and asking how will it make a difference to people’s lives. The series is being organised by BLGDRC alongside the Administrative Data Research Network (ADRN) and the Human Rights, Big Data and Technology Project (HRBDT). All three big data projects are based at the University and funded by the Economic and Social Research Council (ESRC).

The events are all open to members of the public, businesses, charities and other organisations as well as University students, academics and staff. Booking is required to guarantee a place. Please visit to view the whole series and to book any sessions you would like to attend.

After each event there will be an opportunity for attendees to network with each other and the speakers, and to find out more about how they could work and engage with the three centres.

You can also follow the series on Twitter using #talkbigdata

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