There is a free data goldmine. Why do organisations ignore it?

Missing a trick

Economic data is a treasure trove.


And you don’t need to be an economist or data scientist in order to be able to use.

Freely available insights on where people live, what they do, how businesses are performing, who is thriving, population changes, which industries are changing and how people spend money is usually available in a quick search.

The Office for National Statistics (ONS) and Business & IP Centres (BIPCs) love people accessing their data – which you can get online, or from libraries in most major towns and cities. And this can significantly influence decisions in recruitment, investment, research and development and growth planning.

BUT, the potential of this data is frequently overlooked – due to a lack of awareness or understanding of how to harness it.


Why economic data is a pot of gold

Economic data can include a really wide range of information, from employment rates and economic output to industry-specific statistics and demographic trends.

This data is invaluable for several reasons:

    1. Informed decision-making: Access to reliable economic data enables business, charities and public services to make well-informed decisions. For instance, understanding labour market trends helps in planning recruitment drives and identifying skill gaps that need to be addressed.
    2. Risk mitigation: Economic data provides insights into potential risks and opportunities within the market, helping organisations to strategise effectively and mitigate risks associated with economic downturns or shifts in market demand.
    3. Competitive advantage: By leveraging economic data, businesses can gain a competitive edge. They can identify emerging trends, invest in growing sectors, and stay ahead of competitors who may not be using this data.
    4. Policy and planning: For public service teams, economic data is crucial for planning and implementing policies that promote economic growth and social innovation. It helps in targeting interventions where they are most needed and evaluating their impact over time.


The role of BIPCs in providing free data

BIPCs offer a wealth of free resources that can be instrumental in guiding small and growing business strategy – including market research, industry reports, company databases, and intellectual property resources. So what?

    1. Market analysis: Market research reports can help businesses understand industry trends, consumer behaviour and competitive landscapes. This is crucial for businesses looking to enter new markets or expand current operations.
    2. Business planning: Detailed economic data from BIPCs can also support help with business planning. This includes financial projections, market analysis, and strategic planning, ensuring that businesses are match-fit for future challenges and opportunities.
    3. Local economic information: You can access data specific to different local economies, which is essential for businesses operating in or planning to move to specific regions. For example, information at city, region and country level can help businesses understand regional market conditions, labour availability, and investment opportunities​


How would you use it?

The always possible team help teams to use economic data in a number of ways to shape decisions and strategic thinking.

    1. Recruitment and skills development: Reports on specific sectors often highlight job vacancies and skill shortages, such as the high demand for web developers and marketing executives. By understanding these trends, businesses can tailor their recruitment strategies and invest in upskilling their workforce to meet market demands.
    2. Investment and growth planning: Easy access reports from local authorities, think tanks, and sector support agencies often reveal significant impacts on different economic conditions due to pandemics, exporting, recessions, population movements, etc. Businesses can use this data to identify what, when, and where to invest time and resources, and plan their growth strategies accordingly.
    3. R&D: The construction sector, for example, is always a fascinating barometer of economic resilience in all parts of the UK, with a high demand for skilled workers in areas like civil engineering and carpentry. Companies can use local labour market data to focus their R&D efforts to consider how to adjust their talent acquisition plans—especially thinking about how to build teams that might drive digital and data-driven construction techniques and sustainable building practices, thereby staying relevant and competitive.
    4. Public policy and community planning: Public service teams can use economic data to develop targeted support for vulnerable groups. For instance, insights on the impact of the pandemic on various demographics can help in crafting policies that address the specific needs of these groups, ensuring resources are allocated efficiently and effectively.


Harnessing economic data: a practical approach

To fully leverage the potential of economic data, organisations need to be a bit systematic:

    1. Data collection and analysis: Start by identifying the most relevant data sources. The ONS, NOMIS and local government reports, and industry-specific studies are excellent starting points. Use analytical tools to interpret this data and derive actionable insights.
    2. Skill development: Invest in training for staff to enhance their data literacy. Understanding how to analyse and interpret data is crucial for making informed decisions.
    3. Collaboration: Later down the line, you can work with data scientists, economists, and other experts who can provide deeper insights and help in developing data-driven strategies. But affordable advice and support is available from always possible.
    4. Technology integration: Use advanced data analytics tools and software to streamline the data collection and analysis process. Technologies like AI and machine learning can uncover patterns and trends that might not be immediately apparent. We work with teams like Alirity to produce advanced business analytics.



We’ll help you humanise it

always possible works with scaling businesses, charities and public services to make sense of it all.

We can work out trends and patterns that might transform your thinking.

We can help you better understand risks and opportunities.

We can look at your data and help you use it to better tell your story.