The Open Data Institute and Sopra Steria join forces to embed data ethics in business practices

Wed Mar 10, 2021
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The ODI partners with Sopra Steria to put data ethics on the agenda

Leading professional services firm Sopra Steria joins the Open Data Institute (ODI) in a unique partnership to champion digital transformation and data ethics. By combining expertise, the alliance will help more organisations to use data for social good, putting ethical thinking at the centre of decisions made about the use of data.

Sopra Steria joins a list of forward-thinking partners working with the ODI to make data work for everyone, including Pinsent Masons, Arup, Co-op, Deutsche Bank, and Refinitiv.

The Covid-19 pandemic has increased the use of digital and data-driven technologies globally. Sopra Steria and the ODI share core values that emphasise the power of data to unlock positive and lasting social benefits, and drive change. However, wide-scale adoption of data-driven tech needs a thoughtful approach. One that is mindful of how data can be used, collected, and shared.

With this in mind, the ODI has developed the Data Ethics Professionals and Facilitators course. It is designed to train professionals in the ODI’s data ethics methodologies and tools. Sopra Steria is the first professional services company in the UK to partner with the ODI to roll out the course, in particular through its financial services and public sector practices. Its staff will be the first commercial professionals to be formally trained as ‘ODI Data Ethics Facilitators’.

New Curriculum

The course concentrates on core data ethics principles and how they can be applied to emergent data technology, including machine learning and artificial intelligence. By making ethical considerations the centre of the learning, it will prompt participants to critically evaluate data practices, and start crucial conversations about how data is used across organisations.

The alliance enables Sopra Steria to combine the ODI’s established data sharing and data ethics expertise with its own extensive digital ethics experience.

It builds on the company’s Digital Ethics & Tech for Good practice, launched in 2020.

Jen Rodvold, Head of Digital Ethics & Tech for Good at Sopra Steria, said:

‘As organisations seek to accelerate their digital transformation plans and use data to drive new business strategies, they will need digital ethics to build and maintain trust with users, employees, regulators and other stakeholders.

‘Now is the time to turn digital ethics theory into action, and our partnership with the ODI means we are best placed to help customers access the value of their data while establishing digital ethics best practice in their governance, culture and ways of working.’

Stuart Coleman, Director of Business Development at the ODI, commented:

’The essential need for robust data infrastructure across society and the economy has never been more evident. But the transformation has to happen consistently and ethically. In this first-of-a-kind partnership, the ODI is delighted to be working with Sopra Steria to embed data ethics skills in its government and financial services practices.

‘Enabling Sopra Steria’s consultants to encourage more ethical and responsible use of data in these sectors is aligned with the ODI’s mission to make data work better for everyone. It will anchor data ethics in digital transformation programmes across more of society; and contribute to creating ethical data infrastructure at scale and pace.’