Skip to content Accessibility statement

University of York hosts Big Data Analytics Innovation Masterclass

Posted on 4 March 2014

The University of York will host a masterclass examining how high-performance analytics and Big Data can aid innovation and fundamentally change business processes.

The event on Wednesday, 30 April, will feature keynote speaker John Spooner from SAS UK & Ireland, who has more than 18 years’ experience of applying analytical techniques across a number of different industry areas. He leads the SAS UK & Ireland analytics practice, a team that enables organisations to apply data and text mining techniques, as well as forecasting and optimisation routines, to increase profits and reduce costs through fact-based decision making. 

Hosted by the University’s Department of Computer Science, the masterclass will present a range of case study examples of intelligence based on Big Data, including prediction of crime, measurement of responses to natural disasters, prediction of elections and disease outbreaks, as well as anticipation of economic and financial instability. These will be used to offer solutions and insights to help participants understand and utilise data-driven strategies. 

John Spooner said: “For years organisations have made decisions based solely on structured data. But structured data accounts for only about 25 per cent of the data that might be used by a business. The other 75 per cent is unstructured – including things like text and video - and is often not fully considered when it comes to making important corporate decisions. 

“Textual, unstructured data is everywhere - in emails, contracts, warranties, customer feedback surveys, social media, insurance claims, pharmaceutical trials and countless other places. As these Big Data assets continue to proliferate, organisations are missing enormous opportunities and substantially increasing costs and risks by failing to properly incorporate them into their analytical and corporate decision-making processes.” 

John Spooner will argue that it is important to remember that the primary value from Big Data comes not from data in its raw form, but from the processing and analysis of it and the insights, products, and services that emerge from analysis. 

And the sweeping changes in Big Data technologies and management approaches, he will say, need to be accompanied by similarly dramatic shifts in how data supports decisions and product/service innovation. 

Professor John Robinson, York’s Pro-Vice-Chancellor for Teaching, Learning and Information, will chair the masterclass. He said: “There is little doubt that Big Data analytics can transform organisations, and that those leading the charge will seize the most value.” 

The Big Data Analytics Innovation Masterclass will take place on Wednesday, 30 April from 2pm to 3.15pm at the Ron Cooke Lecture Theatre. The event is free and open to all. To book a ticket visit

Notes to editors:

  • SAS is the leader in business analytics software and services, and the largest independent vendor in the business intelligence market. Through innovative solutions, SAS helps customers at more than 65,000 sites improve performance and deliver value by making better decisions faster. Since 1976 SAS has been giving customers around the world THE POWER TO KNOW.
  • For more information on the University of York’s Department of Computer Science visit

Contact details

Caron Lett
Press Officer

Keep up to date

 Subscribe to news feeds

 Follow us on Twitter