Posted on July 27, 2016 by staff

Business needs to rethink how big data is presented


Big Data is only useful if it is presented in an easy-to-read format that people can understand.

That’s the view of Andy Kent, CEO of award-winning Angel Solutions.

Liverpool-based Angel Solutions create software products for the education sector which are used across every local authority in England and in thousands of schools.

The company started in 1999 and has grown its workforce to 30 and its turnover to £2m.

It handles pupils’ exam results for every child in the country from early years through to the end of secondary school.

Kent said: “A key to our success has been using our innovation culture to rethink the way data is presented and beyond that to allow users to be more proactive instead of reactive.

“Not doing things the way people have always done has been a big part of this but that requires a cultural shift in our users.

“We ensure we make things that are not only simple to understand but look fantastic too as a way of helping users engage with a new way of working.

“Providing early intelligence months ahead of national figures being published is another big key to getting noticed.”

Kent, who was speaking at BusinessCloud’s Big Data conference at the International Festival for Business in Liverpool, has taken advantage of the fact that Ofsted reports are publicly available.

“Over the last three or four years we have harvested the data within that and merged with other data sets to produce our freely available website which brings all that data to life and lets users analyse this or look for trends without having to spend weeks collating the data in the first place,” he said.

“A vital part of its success is the twice daily update of data ensuring it always shows the latest trends.”

Fellow entrepreneur Garry Partington,  chief executive and co-founder of Manchester-based RealityMine, told the conference that Big Data without insights is a waste of time.

Kent said when it comes to data, sometimes more is less.

“Too much data can mean too many ways to analyse or produce reports,” he said.

“Our goal has always been to eliminate the process of collating the data.

“Ensuring it is accurate and then producing alerts and triggers to suggest where someone with little time needs to focus their limited resources.”

At the conference, Carl Wiper, a senior policy officer at the Information Commissioner’s Office – which regulates the Data Protection Act – said the public needs to be more aware about data.