Germany Outpaces UK In Big Data League Tables – Forbes

Could uncertainty over Brexit be behind UK industry falling behind international competitors when it comes to data and analytics? A new study seems to suggest so.

Worldwide, businesses are expecting to drive vast efficiencies and generate tremendous growth by embracing cutting-edge Big Data, AI and analytic technologies.

However in the UK – birthplace of the first industrial revolution – those spearheading the fourth industrial revolution are being outpaced by their counterparts in other nations with high-tech industry such as Germany,  France, Australia and Russia.

The Data and Analytics Trends 2017 study from Teradata released this week showed that just 54% of those surveyed in the UK felt that data adoption and analytics is being used effectively within their organizations.

This placed it behind every other country of the nine which were polled, with the exception of India and Japan.

Germany and Spain topped the poll for that question, with 82% and 77% respectively. On average, the UK lagged behind Germany on all questions regarding adoption by an average of 20%.

It’s certainly true that UK industry has a lot on its plate at the moment – with widespread concern over exactly what impact withdrawal from the European Union will have over the medium and long-term. With this in mind, perhaps it isn’t surprising that business leaders in the UK have not prioritized data-driven transformation in the way that companies in the US, Europe and Asia have.

Senior director at Teradata, Martin Wilcox, told me “One has to be a little bit careful in inferring causation in any of these things … but if you look at the situation globally, there’s some evidence to support the hypothesis that while the importance of a data strategy is now understood, there’s a lag in execution.

“And there is some evidence that there is slightly less understanding of the importance of data strategy in the UK.”


One suggestion that Wilcox puts forward for the UK’s relative lack of progress is the nature of UK industry. Compared to Germany, the US or Asian nations the country hosts fewer “giant scale” manufacturing and engineering operations. The sort of businesses where analytics can often yield many small improvements in efficiency adding up to significant bottom-line results.

“There seems to be – speaking from my personal experience as well – a little less urgency around some of these digitization issues in UK business than there is in global business.

“It’s certainly hard to point to examples of UK organizations that are leading in digital transformation – some are doing a good job but there aren’t really you you could highlight as global leaders. Probably the closest thing we have right now are some of the think-tank businesses but they are relatively small in scale.”

Enthusiasm about digital transformation and analytics also seems to be lower in the UK than other nations – although in this respect it does not lag quite so far behind. 87% of UK respondents answered that they felt an effective data analytics strategy is either “important” or “very important” to their business in the future, with the global average at 96%.

Germany Outpaces UK In Big Data League Tables – Forbes