My eye was caught by yesterday’s newspaper story of the discovery of the wreck of the Scharnhorst, a famous German warship, flagship of the notorious German East Asia Squadron; a fleet of fast and powerful cruisers which terrified allied shipping in the Pacific at the outbreak of WW1.

When its base in China was overrun, it headed home to Germany via S America, smashing a Royal Navy squadron trying to stop it off Chile. The Germans only had to round Cape Horn and they had the whole of the vast Atlantic to hide in but the German Admiral Graf von Spee decided to raid Port Stanley on his way home. That was exactly where the British fleet was waiting and on 8th December 1914 the German squadron was completely destroyed for the loss of just 10 RN sailors killed. Admiral von Spee went down with his ship and all its crew, to be discovered by a submersible drone just days before the 105th anniversary of the battle he died in.

German naval commanders were baffled why – against the advice of his captains – the otherwise capable German Admiral attacked the main British base and how the two fleets could have met so coincidentally in so many thousands miles of ocean. In fact he’d received wireless news that no British ships were in the Falklands; a fake message from British Naval Intelligence who had broken the German code; luring one of the most powerful fleets in the world to the watery grave it sits in today.

This little known intelligence trap illustrates the sheer power of information; knowledge is power. This was brutally demonstrated back in 1914 but has become ever more obvious today. We are now surrounded by information and intelligence; bombarded with it all the time, via many forms of media. Political, economic and financial, some of it is real, but most of it is fake or misleading.

Data is so important; correct data gathering, sifting analysis and storage is critical. Mistakes are fatal in both life and in business. It is a very attractive sector to invest in and we highlight D4t4; few companies offer the range of data gathering, and management it offers through its combination of own IP and partner solutions from industry giants like Teradata, SAS, Pega Systems. Its quality and the unique data gathering capabilities of Celebrus platform has attracted some of the largest financial institutions in the world; keen to integrate and utilise many disparate internal data silos.

Other examples pepper a list of stock opportunities – like Blue Prism, Netcall’s Low-code can maximise the efficiency in data use without the need for older systems, creating new apps which give greater insight from aggregated data from vintage platforms. Sopheon’s data aggregation in their Strategic Execution Management platform gives the board the ability to see the idea, execution and consequences of their actions where organisation, collaboration and measurement has always been a challenge; dotdigital refines email and other channel marketing to make sure it’s actually relevant to you; and Tracsis uses transport data on rail network topography, which Network Rail itself hasn’t been able to deliver – while also increasingly driving automation into surveys and analytics relating to road traffic as well. The volume, aggregation and location of the information available is daunting, but these stocks are all harnessing the benefits for their end clients.

Any business which neglects proper data gathering and analysis will be sunk without it.

Happy Friday