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December 10, 2021

Filings buzz in the aerospace and defence sector: 226% increase in big data mentions in Q2 of 2021

Mentions of big data within the filings of companies in the aerospace and defence sector rose 226% between the first and second quarters of 2021.

By Andrew Hillman

In total, the frequency of sentences related to big data between July 2020 and June 2021 was 47% higher than in 2016 when GlobalData, from whom our data for this article is taken, first began to track the key issues referred to in company filings.

When companies in the aerospace and defence sector 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 aerospace and defence sector, 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 twelve months - this was 75% compared to 64% in 2016. Secondly, we calculated the percentage of total analysed sentences that referred to big data.

Of the 20 biggest employers in the aerospace and defence sector, Leonardo SpA was the company that referred to big data the most between July 2020 and June 2021. GlobalData identified 26 big data-related sentences in the Italy-based company's filings - 0.5% of all sentences. Thales SA mentioned big data as 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 BAE Systems Plc, Leidos Holdings Inc and Lockheed Martin Corp.

Across all companies in the aerospace and defence sector, the filing published in the second quarter of 2021 which exhibited the greatest focus on big data came from Leonardo SpA. Of the document's 3,226 sentences, 26 (0.8%) referred to big data.

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This analysis provides an approximate indication of which companies are focusing on big data and how important the issue is considered within the aerospace and defence sector, 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 second quarter of 2021 was 'data analytics', which made up 61% of all big data subtheme mentions by companies in the aerospace and defence sector.

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