Data is essential for all businesses today – helping decision-makers to gain insights into their organisations and create effective strategies to drive innovation and boost growth. It is vital that business leaders keep up to date and understand what is happening in the wider data landscape – three ODI experts share insights into three key areas that will have an impact on businesses and their data strategies in 2022.

A new direction for UK data laws?

Dr Milly Zimeta, Head of Public Policy at the Open Data Institute

In Spring 2022, the government is expected to report on its consultation, Data: A New Direction, a rare chance to rethink and reshape the UK’s data laws. It is also an opportunity for the UK to fulfill the ambition of the National Data Strategy and National AI Strategy to become a world leader in data and AI. 

The Open Data Institute believes that for any reforms to UK data protection to be successful and a positive step forward for business, they should be accompanied by an ambitious vision for data governance and data literacy.  We have developed tools for businesses to help identify and manage ethical issues with data collection, sharing, and use; and to identify the holistic data skills required by different roles in organisations, including management skills around strategy and building communities.

The success of Open Banking is cause for optimism about the potential for data portability to work better for businesses and civil society in other sectors.  We argue a key ‘quick win’ for the government is around strengthening data portability rights and how data portability is implemented across sectors. This would enable customers and other data subjects to allow a range of organisations to have access to their data (and not just the organisation that collected the data); and we’ll be looking to see how the government's Digital Markets Unit and Smart Data schemes are developed. 

Data must inspire and fuel inclusive, equitable, and sustainable economic growth and innovation across sectors, with everybody having the opportunity to understand how data can be used to work for everyone.  To find out more about our formal response to Data: A New Direction visit our website, or join in the conversation by contacting [email protected]

Better global data infrastructure to underpin delivering on the pledges made at Cop26

Stuart Coleman, Director Business Development and Learning at the Open Data Institute 

Post-Cop26, big business and investors in 2022 will need to reach a consensus on how data can play a role in working towards and tracking our collective progress towards net zero. We expect and need to see an increase in collection, use and sharing of data and an acceptance of data as critical infrastructure to chart progress in Cop26 commitments. Better data infrastructure is essential for tackling carbon emissions, energy usage, waste management, water and land usage.

The processes and many of the working practices we rely on for collecting and sharing that data, are not fit for the age of automation and artificial intelligence we are already operating in. We anticipate businesses, investors, governments and wider sectors will accelerate a focus on tackling standards, agreeing on best practices, and working on overcoming the practical challenges involved in sharing data.

Whilst we await new ways of representing non-financial data on the balance sheet, we will see businesses setting out their different approaches on how best to present data that demonstrates, for example, their commitment to net neutrality in the short term. Also in 2022, I expect to see businesses reacting to investors’ growing needs – from providing near real-time data on business performance to serving up information in more standardised formats.

Data assurance will emerge as a critical new discipline to underpin trust in collection, use and sharing of data

Deborah Yates, Programme Lead for Data Assurance at the Open Data Institute

In lots of areas, we’re used to seeing standardisation applied as a way to engender trust and build trustworthiness. Standards also enable interoperability. For example, most nations have one standard plug and one plug socket. Most also have regulated power voltage and legal requirements to ensure safety and create trust amongst consumers for goods and services. 

In 2022, I would expect to see a stronger drive towards assuring our data and data practices across business and society more generally. We are already seeing the professionalisation of data, with growing numbers of organisations hiring Chief Data Officers. This year, I would expect to see stronger supply and demand for data assurance mechanisms across the economy, including the standardisation of data practices with recognised training, accreditations, and certification to build confidence and enable efficiency.

Get in touch

Please get in touch via the form below if you’d like to learn more about what the ODI can do to help your organisation demonstrate trustworthiness with data, or improve confidence in collection, use and sharing of data. We can work with you to develop your approach, or work with you to build on  existing practices you may already have in place. We can also provide training for you or your staff.