business support

How Businesses can use Data to bring them Competitive Advantage








One of the main areas of next-generation business support testing by Cluster 2020 has been the use of data within companies to bring them competitive advantage. Three data pilots were run, two in the UK and one in France. Each communicated the benefits of using data to creative businesses and then provided the services of a data expert to deliver each supported business benefits around their use of data. A number of different ways of using data were explored, including:

  • Market Intelligence – to identify the focus for new products, services & revenue streams
  • Social media intelligence – to understand key influencers, competitors & trends
  • Data Visualization (Informatics) – as a service to customers or an aid to management teams and financial backers in running the business
  • Customer Analysis – to understand what customers are buying off you, or not buying!
  • Selling Your Services – using data to explain more clearly your unique selling points and benefits to potential customers

The report explains the methodologies used to set-up a process to select data experts, communicate to SME’s, shortlist creative businesses to receive support and then explain how the support was run. An extensive evaluation was carried out with both the SMEs and the data experts, with detailed graphs and summary best practice recommendations. So this report provides a blueprint for how business support intermediaries could run a similar service to support businesses in their locality. Whilst this study has been focused on creative businesses the benefits of using data are actually relevant to all business sectors. Download the report here


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This project is financed under the Competitiveness and Innovation Framework Programme (CIP) which aims to encourage the competitiveness of European enterprises.