Sir: The OFT’s initial investigation into suspected anti-competitive arrangements relating to online retail is due to conclude shortly. Its interest in the use of this ‘big data’ highlights the dangers and scepticism associated with the subject. However, the reality is that big data remains notional for many businesses - and some are not even making good use of the ‘small data’ they already collect.

They would benefit enormously from implementing well-defined data management strategies. Analytics can seem daunting, but the application of new analytical techniques, technologies and tools to business data can make all the difference.

Only once this has become business as usual does it make sense to address ‘big data’. The swiftest and most accessible route into this world is visual analytics.

Data in today’s business environment is priceless, and the returns achieved through understanding it are now within reach of any organisation that embraces the value of its data asset.

Guy Cuthbert, MD, Atheon Analytics