Independent research, commissioned by Big Data LDN and sponsored by Cloudera, surveyed 500 of the UK’s most influential data leaders as they struggle to juggle Brexit turmoil, increasing regulations and decipher the blurred lines of data ethics and data privacy.

The UK’s impending divorce from the EU, paired with consistent delays and turmoil, has also impacted UK data leaders trust in the government over the past year. Results show trust in the government with data has fallen five places to last place since 2018, even ‘untrustworthy’ tech titans Google, Amazon and Facebook, have landed above the UK government in the polls. Surprisingly, early results released from the report showed despite the Brexit turmoil 51% of UK data leaders still had confidence in London’s status as a data capital of Europe.

The Cambridge Analytica scandal launched data ethics into the spotlight. While organisations can ensure their data is ethically maintained this doesn’t ensure the data held by an organisation has been ethically sourced or used. As a result, the privacy vs. ethics divide is most prominent for today’s CEO, who has half as much responsibility for data ethics (6%) as for data privacy (12%).

This year’s report also revealed the ownership of data has changed again, with just 9% of CEOs now directly responsible for data – a decrease of 40% since 2018. This shift has seen a rise in data responsibility, as well as facing potential eye-watering fines from the UK’s Information Commissioner's Office (ICO), fall on the shoulders of the Chief Privacy Officer (CPO), now with 5% reporting to the CEO.

Key Fourth Industrial Revolution Report 2019 findings include:

  1. The human barriers to data-driven culture - The majority (86%) of UK data experts feel a lack of enthusiasm and support prevents creating a data-driven culture.
  2. Lack of data visualisation holds UK organisations back - 45% of UK data leaders see the lack of data visualisation skills as the biggest barrier to business requirements.
  3. Data leaders investing in humans to cross the skills chasm - Over half of UK organisations bridge the business (59%) and technology (57%) skills gap by upskilling employees.
  4. AI and ML slow down - Despite AI and ML being considered as the technology of the moment, this year’s respondents have cited a 21% decrease in its usage.
  5. GDPR still top concern - GDPR is still the dominating regulation for many (46%) UK data experts - its power over UK organisations’ data governance programs grows stronger each year. 

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