Business Intelligence, data and the UK economy

Posted on 13 Nov 2015 by The Manufacturer

Thomas Chapell talks big data, analytics and business intelligence with Colin Spencer Halsey – director of Business Confidential, ahead of him speaking at Connect BI in December.

Business intelligence (BI) is a very broad term; what does it mean to you?

Colin Spencer Halsey, director, Business Confidential.
Colin Spencer Halsey, director, Business Confidential.

A conventional definition might well read, getting the right information to the right people at the right time.

My take on BI is the relationship between the questions asked of business and the tools to answer them quickly; and ultimately, the faster we answer the questions, the more competitive a company becomes.

There’s a whole raft of BI practitioners, many of which are very technically minded. My perspective is geared more towards a strategic mindset.

What impact do you think data analytics will have on UK industry over the coming years?

One thing that I’ve certainly experienced is that it’s completely transformed how marketing departments operate.

The old way of marketing has been completely changed and radicalised by data and analytics. Not only that, it’s also impacting on process operational performance.

BI culture: is a change needed?

You can hear Colin Spencer Halsey speak at Connect BI, on December 4, 2015 at Rolls Royce, Derby.

BI is taking a pivotal place in a company’s success, but is evolving at a rapid pace.

As industry moves further towards service-based thinking, Industry 4.0 and increased volumes of big data, make sure you aren’t left dazed and confused while your rivals take the initiative.

Connect BI blends together a unique combination of in-depth case studies and peer-to-peer networking with individuals who are also procuring, implementing and exploring BI systems.

Connect BI will provide you with the opportunity to further your understanding of BI, giving you the upper hand with unrestricted exposure to both peers and the vendor community.

The must attend event to explore potential business partners, building much sought after connections. With Connect BI, you can condense six months works into just one day.

Marketing is all about the customer experience and their levels of satisfaction. The new model, particularly in manufacturing, concerns customer fulfilment, and that’s why marketing departments are so focused on making connections and creating lots of touch points with customers.

Similarly, I would say that big data and analytics are now agenda items in the board room.

That exact terminology may not be used, but the concepts will certainly be high on the list of priorities of forward-thinking companies.

We must make that the message that breaks away from the conservative attitude towards data analytics and business systems gets through.

The right steps in that direction are being made, but we must ensure they continue and – crucially – that everyone is following the same message to avoid the danger of companies being left behind.

What do you think will be the consequences of ignoring the importance of BI and data analytics to the UK economy?

There isn’t a forum or event that I attend where culture does not feature in the dialogue in some shape or form, and invariably it’s seen as an inhibitor, an excuse why we’re not like the Germans and why our productivity levels aren’t as high as they should be.

So, what are the consequences if we fail to address this, the most obvious one would clearly be the missed opportunity.

The UK is the second best innovator in the world behind the Swiss. That’s recognised by the global innovation index.

However, we’re not necessarily the best at successfully following that innovation through and delivering commercial products to market.

That is where business intelligence, data and modern technologies can help us, if we choose to embrace them. That is how we can find ways of delivering proven commercial success.