George Osborne’s announcement to invest £42m in the Alan Turing Institute as part of the 2014 budget has confirmed the government’s commitment to big data and algorithm research.
The institute, named after code-breaker Turing, will receive the funding over five years from the Department for Business, Innovation and Skills as Britain looks to embrace the digital era.
"Big data has become the unexpected darling of Osborne’s speech and the significant investment in the Alan Turing software research institute should be applauded," Mark Wilkinson, MD at SAS UK & Ireland told CBR.
"Crucially, the UK has the opportunity to take the lead here in the global efforts to deliver real financial benefits from big data, the raw material of the information economy which has been referred to by analysts as the ‘new oil’.
"To do this, it is vital that government, academia and businesses in the UK work together to nurture development in the big data analytics skills now being demanded, so the next generation can prosper."
More data scientists need to be trained, and ultimately employed in the appropriate fields, in order to help the UK economy flourish.
Alwin Magimay, UK head of digital and analytics at KPMG, was in agreement. "Data scientists are what computer programmers were to the UK economy in the nineties. We as a nation need to industrialise this discipline to ensure that British business can prosper from understanding the potential of the data and turn it into a competitive business advantage," he said.
Both SAS and KPMG are using their expertise to help the UK be more data driven. SAS has opened an R&D centre in Glasgow to combat fraud and financial crime, while KPMG is using its Digital Innovation Network to support data scientists.
Magimay added: "The investment of £42 million is a powerful signal to businesses, academic institutions and investors to sit up and realise that big data isn’t just a term coined by the technology world but that it presents a real opportunity for UK business to gain value from the abundance of data being created in a digital and connected world."