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Case Study

Providing Invest Northern Ireland with comprehensive insights into economic performance

Providing Invest Northern Ireland with comprehensive insights into economic performance


Invest Northern Ireland plays a pivotal role in fostering the growth of the Northern Ireland economy. As Northern Ireland’s lead Economic Development Agency, it is tasked with utilising programmes, staff resources and budget to accelerate economic growth across Northern Ireland. Operating under the Department for the Economy, Invest NI provides robust government support for business, effectively implementing the Government’s economic development strategies.

The agency is instrumental in providing a wide range of services and support mechanisms designed to facilitate business growth, innovation, and competitiveness. By offering financial assistance, expert advice and guidance, and tailored support programmes, Invest NI helps businesses to scale, innovate, and access new markets, thereby contributing significantly to economic prosperity in Northern Ireland.

Invest Northern Ireland sought a consultancy and delivery partner to develop a pilot solution that would demonstrate the possibilities for unifying internal data with third-party data from multiple sources within a single environment. This solution would rely on both internal datasets (aggregated at the Local Government District level) and external datasets from research bodies such as the Office for National Statistics and Northern Ireland Statistics and Research Agency, as well as other funds and agencies (UK Research & Innovation, Levelling Up etc.).


A major challenge for the organisation was making better use of data to understand the sub-regional economy and demonstrate its impact at that level. The main objective of the pilot study, proposed by Invest Northern Ireland in the form of a tender, was to create a tool that would allow stakeholders to draw actionable insights from more granular data and help the organisation better understand sub-regional economies. The solution should also align internal reporting with third-party data to get a better picture of the impact that Invest NI activity has on the local economy at a sub-regional level.


In response to the requirements and challenges of Invest Northern Ireland, Analytics Engines engaged with them to first identify priority and third-party data sets that would form the organisation’s “evidence base” for spatial visualisation.

Analytics Engines performed a comprehensive data quality assessment to ascertain suitability for integration into a proof-of-concept reporting dashboard. The selected datasets were then used to create a Microsoft Power BI dashboard, which will serve as a phase one deliverable to demonstrate the capabilities and benefits of data visualisation with a spatial component in a more intuitive and actionable format, driving more effective strategic decision-making.


Key stakeholders at Invest Northern Ireland have been provided  with a comprehensive overview of the current state of their data at a sub-regional level, as well as a series of recommendations regarding data engineering and third-party data acquisition.

The pilot dashboard provides a roadmap for future visualisations that will give key stakeholders at Invest Northern Ireland comprehensive graphical insights into sub-regional performance in real-time, reducing the costs and resources required to produce reports on a regular basis. Real-time monitoring of critical data will also enable the organisation to become even more proactive by enhancing its data-led decision-making capability.

At its core, this project was focused on demonstrating the importance of data quality and the operational impact that data can have on the decision-making capacity of an organisation. The project demonstrates the art-of-the-possible and provides Invest Northern Ireland with a roadmap for future development and application.

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by PJ Kirk

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