Whether you’re a business with five people, a single entrepreneur, a large multinational corporate a government department – you need to be concerned with data.

Never before have we created so much data. A dozen years ago we created five billion of gigabytes of data – now we create that same amount of every two days. And the exponential rate of growth suggests we’ll eclipse that soon – especially as computing power continues to double every one and a half years.

Our report which Communications Minister Malcolm Turnbull launched last week, “Deciding with data”, shows there is a potential $48 billion left on the table from the huge amount of data in Australia not being mined for meaning. Currently businesses of all sizes, from small boutique operations to large corporates, are holding on to more information than ever before.

It’s important we harness this as quickly and efficiently as possible. Not only could we unlock tens in billions in economic value,

Part of the problem is many businesses don’t know where to start. But there are already a significant number of Australian businesses and government departments using data in order to get ahead. Following these examples would be a good start in rethinking how we use data:

Fire and Transport NSW 

Emergency workers in New South Wales have their hands full – FRNSW are responsible for the emergency response and protection of the entire NSW population. In 2013 they responded to over 130,000 incidents.

Using data that incorporates information from geographic, operational and environmental sources, FRNSW is able to create a new system which gauges the likelihood of disasters. This enables the organisation to deploy resources before emergency situations in order to minimise life and property loss.

Tip Top

The bakery network faces a problem of distributing more than one million products baked every day, from 11 locations to 100 distribution centres – and then to another 20,000 more locations where customers make their purchases. The business spends more than $100 million on transport every year, making up nearly 40% of the price of each product. 

Working with NICTA, Tip Top was able to use data on their transport networks and customer data to make better routing decisions – factoring in costs, prices and distribution, sales and revenue, artificial intelligence is able to provide the best and most cost effective routes possible to drivers. 

NSW Department of Education and Communities

Helping children with learning disabilities is a difficult task. Using 25,000 student records created during the 2013 trial of a new learning and support signposting tool, the department is able to have a detailed understand of common and uncommon patterns represented in student populations.

As a result of mining this data, teachers are provided with reports for individual students, placing them on one of six different spectrums of education need – with a detailed dialogue of ways that individual student differs from others in their category.

United Energy 

The growing use of electronic appliances in the home, especially connected devices, means in Australia electricity consumption tends to skyrocket. United Energy’s annual growth in peak demand is about 1.7% each year, resulting in a need for greater network capacity.

As a result, UE has been able to use smart meter data to trial voluntary side initiatives to reduce peak demand on the network. The trial will analyse customer responses to incentive, with the potential to manage peak demand to postpone or avoid network investments.

UE customers have the ability to reduce their demand of up to three hours on days when the demand was expected to be high – and are paid $25 for each time this occurs. Participants in the program were also able to access detailed energy consumption data online.

To read more about how the Australian economy can benefit from using data-driven innovation, download your copy of our report “Deciding with data: How data-driven innovation is fuelling Australia’s economic growth” here.


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Trent Lund

Trent is Head of Innovation and Ventures for PwC Australia. With 18 years’ experience spanning Australia, Asia, UK, Europe and the Middle East, Trent joined PwC to lead the customer centric transformation consulting team dedicated to improving the way Australia’s leading private and public sector organisations re-focus on the customer.

Before his commercial career, Trent worked with some of the earlier forms of computing, transforming traditional business through programmable logic controls to automate machinery. The learning he gathered from this early experience saw Trent ‘smash a lot of strawberries, but learned a lot about the power of technology’.

Trent began his commercial career in telecommunications in Australia and later independently as a business consultant in the UK. Trent helped high tech and communications clients develop product and market entry strategies for complex solutions such as data centres, mobile content platforms and 3G Mobile licenses.

Afterwards Trent joined Oracle to lead the mobile content and service delivery platform proposition in Europe and Asia. One of the key milestones he achieved was to architect a custom solution into 10 countries, gaining 45 million subscribers, operating in many different languages and different currencies. The key challenge was balancing the latest technology advancements with the pragmatism required to address economies in different stages of maturity, from emerging to very mature. Advising technology owners on what business models will be profitable in these environments is one of Trent’s great strengths.

Trent specialises in user experience design, customer-led innovation and disrupting business models through technology.

“Digital is challenging the status quo. We’re beginning to see how customers are interacting with technology and it’s exciting to see the escalating rate of change in all industries.”

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