Envisioning the power of data analytics

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


It could be argued that the power of data is located in what they are used to reveal. Yet we have little understanding of the role played by the emerging industry of data analytics in the interpretation and use of big data. These data analytics companies act as intermediaries in the digital data revolution. Understanding the social influence of big data requires us to understand the role played by data analytics within organisations of different types. This particular article focuses very specifically upon the way in which data and data analytics are envisioned within the marketing rhetoric of the data analytics industry. It is argued that to understand the spread of data analytics and the adoption of certain analytic strategies, we first need to look at the projection of promises upon that data. The way that data and analytics are imagined shapes their incorporation and appropriation into practices and organisational structures–what I call here the data frontiers. This article draws upon a sample of 34 data analytics companies in order to explore the way in which data analytics are envisioned within that increasingly powerful industry.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)465-479
Number of pages15
JournalInformation, Communication and Society
Issue number3
Early online date16 Feb 2017
Publication statusPublished - 4 Mar 2018

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© 2017 Informa UK Limited, trading as Taylor & Francis Group. This is an author-produced version of the published paper. Uploaded in accordance with the publisher’s self-archiving policy. Further copying may not be permitted; contact the publisher for details.


  • Data
  • big data
  • capitalism
  • data analytics
  • power

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