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Trust, control, transparency and ethics crucial to widespread use of data

Speakers at DataIQ Summit explored the challenges and opportunities of data analytics.

Trust and culture were the themes of the day at the DataIQ summit recently, where attendees heard about the importance and value of data to the UK economy.

This year DataIQ’s annual summit focused on ‘Moving the Dial’ and the fundamental changes to how decisions are made and the way businesses operate that are needed to see upwards shifts in key performance indicators and metrics.

A common thread throughout the day was the need for consumers to have trust in the way their data is being used, and for data analytics strategies to be embedded into the very culture of an organisation.

Trust, control, transparency and ethics were all quoted as being crucial for an organisation’s data approach, signalling that companies may start competing based on their data promise to customers.

Data analytics offers a wide range of benefits to consumers, such as greater product and service personalisation. However there is a risk that if customers are not brought along that data journey they will view it as ‘creepy’. Data analytics should not be seen as being done behind customers’ backs, argued a number of the speakers, but shown as something that will bring them greater benefits.

This was common across both the public and private sector with Sue Bateman, Deputy Director of Data Sharing and Data Science at the Government Digital Service, outlining some of the measures the Government is taking to ensure it can use data science to improve public services while maintaining the trust and confidence of the public.

Speakers from the Open Data Institute, Digital Catapult, Channel 4, the Post Office and more all agreed that openness and transparency were key to building trust with customers while benefiting from the data revolution. The audience was even treated to a video of Alan Carr explaining Channel 4’s Customer Promise relating to data use, making it clear that viewers could choose for their data to be removed from Channel 4’s systems but also explaining the benefits of letting the broadcaster have access to that information.

The second key theme emerging from the summit was the business culture needed to benefit from data analytics tools and technologies. A number of speakers told stories of the difficulties they had experienced within their organisations when implementing data strategies. A data-driven culture must be embedded throughout an organisation if data strategies are to be successful. The Guardian, Royal Mail, Barclaycard, Paddy Power Betfair and others outlined how their organisations had benefited from data analytics by threading it throughout the organisation. This, for some, had been a considerable challenge which is understandable given the change in structures and way of thinking that is required. Whilst this might be difficult, it is necessary and those that have successfully implemented data-driven cultures have benefited as a result.

techUK will continue to look at consumer trust and confidence in the use of big data and to highlight the value of big data to the UK economy. For more information about our work in this area please contact Jeremy Lilley.


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