Mentions of big data within the filings of companies in the power industry were 138% higher during 2021 than in 2016, according to the latest analysis of data from GlobalData.

When companies in the power industry publish annual and quarterly reports, ESG reports, and other filings, GlobalData analyses the text and identifies individual sentences that relate to disruptive forces facing companies in the coming years. Big data is one of these topics – companies that excel and invest in these areas are thought to be better prepared for the future business landscape and better equipped to survive unforeseen challenges.

To assess whether big data is featuring more in the summaries and strategies of companies in the power industry, two measures were calculated. Firstly, we looked at the percentage of companies that have mentioned big data at least once in filings during the past 12 months – this was 65%, compared to 42% in 2016. Secondly, we calculated the percentage of total analysed sentences that referred to big data.

Of the 10 biggest employers in the power industry, Eaton was the company that referred to big data the most during 2021. GlobalData identified 61 big data-related sentences in the Ireland-based company's filings – 0.9% of all sentences. 3M mentioned big data the second most – the issue was referred to in 0.3% of sentences in the company's filings. Other top employers with high big data mentions included ABB, Siemens, and Honeywell.

This analysis provides an approximate indication of which companies are focusing on big data and how important the issue is considered within the power industry, but it also has limitations and should be interpreted carefully. For example, a company mentioning big data more regularly is not necessarily proof that they are utilising new techniques or prioritising the issue, nor does it indicate whether the company's ventures into big data have been successes or failures.

GlobalData also categorises big data mentions by a series of subthemes. Of these subthemes, the most commonly referred to topic in the fourth quarter of 2021 was 'data centers', which made up 67% of all big data subtheme mentions by companies in the power industry.