Mentions of big data within the filings of companies in the aerospace and defence sector rose 231% between the first and second quarters of 2022.

In total, the frequency of sentences related to big data between July 2021 and June 2022 was 148% 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 which have mentioned big data at least once in filings during the past twelve months - this was 70% compared to 49% 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 was the company which referred to big data the most between July 2021 and June 2022. GlobalData identified 70 big data-related sentences in the Italy-based company's filings - 0.9% of all sentences. Thales mentioned big data the second most - the issue was referred to in 0.5% of sentences in the company's filings. Other top employers with high big data mentions included Bae , Rolls-Royce and Boeing.

Across all companies in the aerospace and defence sector the filing published in the second quarter of 2022 which exhibited the greatest focus on big data came from Leonardo. Of the document's 3,598 sentences, 35 (1%) referred to big data.

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 2022 was 'data analytics', which made up 67% of all big data subtheme mentions by companies in the aerospace and defence sector.