Big Data holds the key to future business success

Data science centre to boost competitiveness of UK firms

Imperial College London and KPMG have joined forces to create a cutting-edge data centre to boost competitiveness of UK businesses.

KPMG, one of the largest professional services companies in the world, has pledged to contribute over £20m to build the new centre that will focus on five key areas including analysis of business capital, growth opportunities, people, operations and resilience.  

"More data has been created in the last two years than in the rest of history. That's amazing but we can all drown in data unless we know what to do with it,” said Simon Collins, KPMG UK Chairman. “Our collaboration with Imperial is about developing the people and skills to use that data to drive new industries and new services.”

The KPMG Centre for Advanced Business Analytics, a project with a 15 to 20-year timeline, will develop innovative approaches, analytical methods and tools for using big data, giving UK businesses the opportunity to solve complex issues, such as enabling banks to predict fraud or helping retailers better understand consumer behaviour.

"For businesses to compete in a globalised economy they need a full understanding of markets, customers, products, regulations, competitors, employees and much more,” said Professor G  'Anand' Anandalingam, Dean of Imperial College Business School. “The effective use of information and analytics is key to this in order for companies to develop, grow and innovate. However, processing huge swathes of data is a major challenge for leading businesses. Today's datasets are so big and complex to process that they require new ideas, tools and infrastructures,” he said, explaining that the KPMG centre will be equipped with the right skills and technology to solve the big data pitfalls.

The Centre will be led by researchers at Imperial College Business School as part of the College's Data Science Institute, which is developing new data science methods and technologies and supporting world class data-driven research.

As part of the launch, KPMG and Imperial are unveiling a number of initiatives - the first of which is a Global Data Observatory. Created to bring large and complex amounts of data together with data visualisation capabilities, it will allow researchers to spot patterns and get real insights into complex business issues.

David Willets MP, Outgoing Minister of State for Universities and Science, said:  "It's encouraging to see Imperial College London and KPMG teaming up on this new partnership that will both accelerate the speed in which data based research is carried out and the time it takes to commercialise new ideas into everyday practice benefiting UK businesses. This is a good example of what I've been calling for in seeking national research to become more public."

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