SPARE a thought for those charged with promoting the positive aspects of data. It is not an easy sell, but the simple fact is that data is an enormous part of our lives.

As the digital footprint of each individual grows – whether through internet browsing history, social media posts, or engagement with specific businesses online – so too does the volume of data companies hold on customers.

Through a series of enormous data breaches in recent years, and allegations of unlawful data collection, the industry when it is spoken about at all, is generally portrayed negatively.

But things are changing. New EU legislation comes into force in May which gives consumers much more control of how their data is used. And ultimately, more people are seeing how data sharing can be mutually beneficial to businesses and customers.

Marketing can be personalised, data can be gathered and analysed to better understand complex problems – in healthcare for example – and find solutions.

Every company uses data. How they use it will determine how they grow, and how they will be perceived. That is how important data has become.

In Scotland, a burgeoning industry is now highly regarded across the world. Our small country is once again standing tall as a pioneer.

As Scottish Enterprise reveals data companies in the country have seen collective revenue pass £1 billion; the big number is the £20 billion in productivity savings that will come in the next five years.

That is a concept which even the most sceptical critic of data can surely see the benefits in.