Leveraging data in regulated industries

Responding to challenges and trade-offs faced by large firms in regulated industries in unlocking value from data.

Data lies at the heart of today’s economy, with The Economist claiming in 2017 that data was the world’s most valuable resource. Organisations recognise the potential value of data, placing importance on understanding how best to unlock the value in their data. Data supports the creation of business value through driving business growth, enhancing operational efficiency, and improving decision-making processes. Or to put it another way, data supports the key goals of strategic positioning, enabling firms to do different things or to do things differently. Sometimes both. 


The problem

Yet organisations often encounter significant technical, organisational, and strategic challenges in deriving value from their data, and face trade-offs when deciding how to respond to these challenges. Data-related challenges are particularly salient in large firms operating in highly regulated industries, such as finance and healthcare. In leveraging their data, firms must navigate compliance requirements, including complex data privacy regulations, data protection laws, and industry-specific guidelines. 

While there is understanding of technical aspects of data management, such as data formats and architectures, and the role of organisational (eg governance, culture) and strategic (eg competing stakeholder interests) considerations has been identified, there is a need to investigate how such knowledge holds up in the face of contemporary challenges. 


Technological innovation and changing socio-political-economic contexts influence the nature and dynamics of tensions and potential responses. Organisations must navigate ever increasing volumes and formats of data, compliance frameworks that differ over time and between jurisdictions, and adapt their business models to take advantage of opportunities from digitization and more collaborative ways of working. Furthermore, organisations must consider trade-offs between data-driven decision making and human judgment as automated processes and algorithms may not capture the full complexity of real-world contexts.

Research aims

Our research aims to investigate the specific challenges and trade-offs faced by large multi-national organisations in highly regulated industries and identify best practices in unlocking business value from data. We consider the flow of data as the backbone of an organisation and intend to deepen knowledge of how the technical, organisational, and strategic decisions concerning this flow create business value. Our primary research questions are focused on exploring the following:

  • What are the challenges faced by large multinational organisations in leveraging their existing data across departments and nations to drive business value?
  • What are the challenges faced by large multinational organisations in acquiring and leveraging new data to drive business value?
  • What best practices can organisations adopt to overcome these challenges?
  • What trade-offs do organisations face, and how are these trade-offs navigated, in implementing these best practices?

Research team

This research project is conducted by researchers from the University of Oxford, including two from the Oxford Future of Finance and Technology Initiative (OFFTI) which explores various research areas related to fintech.

Research details

Our research agenda is set to produce a suite of academic papers concentrated on the disciplines of strategy, innovation, and entrepreneurship. In addition, we intend to develop case studies, white papers, and presentations focused on the phenomenon of leveraging data. These materials are designed to enrich our comprehensive fintech courses tailored for professionals, offering them in-depth insights and practical knowledge in this burgeoning field.

The University of Oxford and Saïd Business School place great emphasis on the ethical dimensions of our research process and data collection. It is our commitment to ensure that all data collected during the course of this study will be anonymised for the confidentiality of participants' personal information. We will undertake all necessary measures to protect your privacy at every stage of the research. Participants have the right to withdraw from the study at any time, without the need to provide a reason, simply by informing us of their decision.