The first ever study of the economic impact of ‘big data’ to the Irish economy has identified €27 billion of business innovation, creation and efficiency benefits by 2017 as a result of using big data analytics.
The report commissioned by SAS Ireland and conducted by The Centre for Economics and Business Research (Cebr) reveals that, despite Irish businesses facing challenging conditions over the next 12 months, the opportunity over the next five years from harnessing the large volume, velocity and variety of data could have profound benefits to the economy. Furthermore, coupling the big data opportunity with the structural reforms carried out under the terms of the EU and IMF financial packages have provided the foundations for enhanced performance, greater innovation and higher profitability within a very competitive environment.
There are three main ways that the emergence of big data is expected to benefit the Irish economy, resulting in a net increase of 61,000 Irish jobs over the next five years:
Business creation – more precise strategising, better customer insight and reduced uncertainty through big data analytics is expected stimulate the creation of new small and medium sized businesses, contributing €4.7 billion by 2017.
Efficiency – efficiency gains could contribute a cumulative benefit of €14.7 billion by 2017 with better customer intelligence delivering €6.7 billion and supply chain improvements contributing €4.3 billion to the overall figure.
Innovation – applying big data analytics to research and development (R&D) is predicted to help drive new products and services as well as the potential creation of new markets contributing €7.3 billion to the Irish economy by 2017.
On top of the requisite high-performance IT infrastructure, data specialists will also be needed by businesses seeking to reap the benefits of big data. Businesses therefore have to be in a position to recruit from a pool of highly-skilled, data-savvy workers. Cebr expect a total of 61,000 new jobs to be created in Ireland between 2012 and 2017 as a result of new ‘big data’ businesses being created through business creation, efficiency and innovation. SAS expects to see the emergence of the Chief Data Officer alongside data scientists as organisations look to capitalise on their ‘Data Equity’. SAS Ireland is actively involved in encouraging school and university students – through programmes such as SAS Curriculum Pathways – to recognise the exciting and financially well rewarded career that working with data and analytics presents as more organisations look to unlock the value of their big data.
Shehan Mohamed, Cebr, said: “As data volumes grow exponentially and advances in technology enable greater insights to be extracted, we expect more firms to place a financial value on their data through their balance sheets. Furthermore, the efficiency and innovation gains generated from data-driven technologies can play a vital role in ensuring the competiveness of Ireland’s goods and services on the global stage. Many of the previous obstacles to undertaking big data analytics, such as the cost of storage, security and analysis, are reducing. As technological innovations continue and the amount of data that can be captured, stored and managed escalates, we can expect ever-increasing financial opportunities.”