Telford businesses and students learn about big data

16 February 2015
Big data is transforming organisations and Shropshire BCS members recently had the opportunity to hear about how HMRC is becoming a data-driven organisation.

Hollie Whittles, BCS Shropshire Chair, says: “Big Data is important to the ever changing digital landscape, from cloud through to mobile to social media and gaming. It’s not just about storing continually increasing volumes of data, it’s also about how we analyse it and use it.”

Speaking at the group's January meeting held at Telford College of Arts and Technology, Chief Digital & Information Officer Mark Dearnley explained how HMRC relies on world-class analytics to bring in £500bn a year in revenue that funds UK public services.

Dearnley went on to speak about how the Department is moving all its data into a new single data hub so it can take its analytics even further. This comes with some big challenges - not least around security. Dearnley stressed the importance of data security to HMRC and set out how it's developing cutting edge solutions to help protect customer data.

According to Dearnley, all of this will enable HMRC to offer a range of new digital services, tailored to the needs of the Department's 41m individual and 5m business customers.

Says Dearnley: "Doing much more with the data we hold is key to unlocking HMRC's digital future. We'll give all our customers their own online tax account, bringing all the information they need into one place to make it easier for them to manage their tax affairs. This is an exciting time to be in technology in the public sector and it was great to be able to share some of HMRC's journey with an enthusiastic audience of IT professionals and local students."

Sue Burke, Head of School for Computing, Accounting and Professional Studies at the Colleges, said: “It was wonderful to see so many people at the event. This is not the first time Telford College of Arts and Technology have hosted an event for BCS and this provides a valuable opportunity for our computing students to attend. The students thoroughly enjoyed the whole evening especially Mark Dearnley’s insight into “big data”.

Photo shows from left to right: Simon Ing, Dianne Kidd, Hollie Whittles, Mark Dearnley, Cheryl Coleing Wale, Chris Pallett