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Four key themes to boost data-driven innovation

Experian has published a white paper offering ideas about how the UK can develop a world-leading data industry. It lays the foundations needed to create a culture of data innovation that will drive business growth as we emerge from the COVID-19 crisis.

Identifying the trends

'The Data Debate: a forward view of key trends for 2021' uses the recently published UK National Data Strategy as a framework, highlighting four key areas that organisations should focus on in 2021 to help them succeed in a disrupted, digitalised marketplace. These are:

  1. Consistent data standards.
  2. Developing better data skills.
  3. Improving the availability of data.
  4. Demonstrating responsible data use.

"The COVID-19 pandemic has highlighted the enormous potential of data to help overcome some of the world's biggest challenges, informing critical thinking and guiding decision making," said Jonathan Westley, chief data officer UK&I and EMEA at Experian. "Emerging from the crisis, data will be a vital tool for organisations to understand shifts in consumer behaviour so they can deliver services in rapidly evolving digitalised markets. We are not going back to the way we were before. If businesses are to survive the immediate fallout from the pandemic and thrive in the future, they must understand their new, post-Covid landscape."

The report highlights new insights that Experian says should be front and centre of thinking in the UK as the country works towards building a world-leading data industry. These include:

  • Data standardisation will be imperative to organisations unlocking the value of their own data, and ultimately entering the data ecosystem. This must be driven at an organisation, industry and national level.
  • Developing data skills and creating a data literate workforce will ensure that data knowledge is not concentrated on a few experts within the business and empower a greater number of employees to unlock data's true value.
  • 'The consent equation' will help organisations assess people's willingness to share their information. If the value outweighs the risk, they will be more inclined to share.
  • Privacy-preserving technologies will give people the confidence to share their data, and businesses access to the rich datasets needed to innovate. Personal data vaults, zero trust data sharing and synthetic data are all technologies that will start emerging in the future.

Low-hanging fruit

The paper also identifies three future data trends that Experian believes are closest to fruition in 2021. These are:

  1. Standardisation driving the growth of data marketplaces and data as a service, and in doing so, improving data availability.
  2. Responsible use of data will be at the heart of the operationalisation of artificial intelligence, machine learning and natural language processing.
  3. The return of the business as a data steward.

"As the world becomes ever more connected, the sheer volume, range and variety of available data will continue to grow at a substantial rate," added Westley. "The ability to analyse and use it in the right way will show us its true value. We're seeing increased standardisation, better all-round data skills developed, consumers becoming more motivated to share their data and safeguards put in place to maintain their long-term confidence. It's time to deploy data in new, innovative ways that will create a vibrant UK data economy."

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