Data is a booming business, with more companies than ever adopting a data-driven strategy to meet the growing demands of today’s decision makers. Although historically companies typically held data on their financials, market, customers and competitors; the quantity of data held has never matched today’s record-breaking figures. Tech Giants like Facebook, Google, Apple and Amazon are built on a foundation of ‘big data’ and analytics. Often the increase in quantity of data available to companies is not mirrored by an increase in quality of data. As a result, many businesses struggle to implement processes to analyse and use their data in a way which delivers a benefit to their customers and their business. With statistics reporting that less than 0.5% of all data is ever analysed and used, there is huge opportunity here for companies to achieve competitive advantage by using data to really know their customers and make the best business decisions possible.
Helping businesses make the most of data
This is a space where Halpenfield, established in 2004, have made their mark. Halpenfield is a software development company who specialise in organising, analysing and visualising data in a way their clients can use, working with big brands like M&S, Boots and Thomas Cook.
What makes Halpenfield different is their philosophy. They understand their clients and deliver solutions in an efficient way, helping clients to begin or continue their analytics journey. As a small business they can afford to be more agile and responsive, whilst offering an end-to-end service which other consultancies cannot match. The breadth and depth of experience within the team means they offer the expert advice required to get the most from existing systems, as well as supporting implementation of improved data collection and processes. The demands on them, working in software where technology is constantly changing, are high. Their team are required to understand the latest tech on the market and how this could be applied to businesses of different sizes, across different industries. This is where R&D tax credits have helped them.
Finding the R&D in data
Innovation activity at Halpenfield accounts for a large proportion of what they do every day. MPA Analyst Nigel Urquhart identified that much of their qualifying activity occurs through solving the problems of their clients. It’s this focus which means they can claim a significant proportion of their investment back via the R&D Tax Credit scheme – and they’ve been doing so since 2013. The benefits of this have been reinvested into Halpenfield’s own innovation, performance and technical developments.
HMRC rules around what does and doesn’t qualify for the scheme can be particularly difficult to understand in the IT sector. Though it’s safe to say that any business employing software developers is likely to be doing some form of R&D, recently HMRC have begun recruiting CTO’s to boost their own expertise in this area so experience and attention to detail are paramount. On working with MPA Group, Heather Beardmore, Director at Halpenfield, explained that they chose to work with an R&D specialist because:
We know specialists make a difference because we are specialists in our field.Heather Beardmore, Director at Halpenfield
How data can influence business decisions
Whether a business is innovating or not, all companies can benefit from a close relationship with data. As Heather explained, one example of an area data insight could really benefit is HR.
The costliest part of a business is often people, and although companies possess a large amount of data on employees in HR systems and related costs in financial systems, it could usually be better-integrated. This historical data can tell you a lot but blending it with external data gives more insight into the company’s performance and can assist in setting and measuring KPI’s. Then, looking forward, this data can be used to predict future scenarios.
Today business leaders want evidence to support decision making. Halpenfield work to both analyse existing data in a way to guide these decisions, as well as working in a consultative capacity to advise how to better organise, supplement and integrate data. Dashboards and visual analytics are now transforming the way information is presented and shared. More and more people within companies are able to collaborate and be informed more quickly and more accurately than ever before.
What’s the most common mistake?
When we asked Heather for an example of a common mistake businesses make regarding data, her answer was simple: silo mentality. When departments fail to share information or work collaboratively they fail to see a holistic view of the company, whether that reveals something about the customer, marketplace, product or even team performance. For example, Finance and Marketing might be interested in different things, but by creating one version of the truth will have a more accurate picture of how the business is doing and are able to move forward together.
Get in touch
If you feel you may be undertaking activity similar to Halpenfield, get in touch with us today to find out how much you could gain from R&D tax credits. Alternatively, if you need help getting real value from your business data, get in touch with Halpenfield.