What's in this podcast?

We’ve reached the milestone of 100 episodes of Hub & Spoken! To mark the occasion Pete Williams (Director of Data & Online at Penguin Random House UK), the first ever Hub & Spoken guest, returns to the show; but this time the tables are turned and he interviews Jason Foster. They review Hub & Spoken – the original data podcast, and discuss the importance of data in society’s progress.

Listen to this episode on Spotify, iTunes, and Stitcher. You can also catch up on the previous episodes of the Hub & Spoken podcast when you subscribe.

What are your thoughts on the evolution of the data industry? We’d love to hear from you; join the #HubandSpoken discussion and let us know on Twitter and LinkedIn.

If you’re a CDO, or data leader setting the data strategy at your organisation, find out more about the CDO Hub (Pete was a founding member of this peer to peer network for data leaders looking to collaborate, learn and grow together).


One Big Message

Data is essential in driving the improvement of society. Business decisions rely heavily on data in coming up with a strategy. To start the data journey is to start to draft a strategy for organisational success.

[7:12] The importance of data in driving the improvement of society

[13:38] Every business decision is based on data

[14:25] The responsibility of data officers in data leadership

[22:36] Importance of engagement with data

[23:25] Being a change agent is important

[29:45] The role of technology in data generation for business

[32:18] If there’s value in the skills of the business that you create, it’s with owning the skill

[36:35] How companies can prepare themselves for success when they start their data journey

[45:06] The tough job of the regulators

Importance of Data in Society and Business

Data practitioners are engaged in collection of data from outside sources. In this situation, they can empathise with customers. They can empathise with the problems and the challenges they have, and therefore (hopefully!), create a better, more practical and pragmatic answer to these problems. By addressing the problems of the society, it’s the organisations’ duty to respond to the former’s needs. Therefore, the real deal in this is about delivery of incremental business outcomes by applying data. The purpose of Hub and Spoken is to create a better future for all through sharing examples of open and positive data use.

However, everyone must be cautious and vigilant for data that might be used for bad causes, or for the interest of a few. The data must be used to drive improvement in society for all.

People may or may not be conscious of this, but they produce data without even realising it. Information collected for data may not always be the same, but the objective doesn’t change. It’s to deliver value by analysis and interpretation of that data. Business decisions always rely on this information; it’s a reliable foundation for predicting outcomes for the strategic plan of the organisation.


The responsibility of data officers

The role of data leadership centres around someone who’s able to define the strategy for getting the most out of the data, and is responsible for making it happen.

It is a critical task that lies in the hands of the chief data officers (CDO). Data processed must be accurately and precisely made to respond to the organisational needs, and must be a reliable record.

Keeping in touch with historic data is also necessary. Information and strategies applicable now, may be obsolete in the long run. Data officers must always be engaged with data to ensure the efficiency of business decisions rooted in the presented records.

As business entities face an ever-changing world, data analysts are able to be the ringleaders of change and innovation. Supported by the logic of historic data, analysts can generate educated hypotheses.


Capitalising on technology and skills

It is undeniable that technology is an important part of modern business. Data leaders can be the frontrunners in utilising these systems for the benefit of the business. However, there are things that technology can’t replace, such as the innate intelligence and creativity of manpower. Successful Data analysts think out of the box, and aren’t held back by the limitations set by modernisation.

Skills and intellectual properties may arise in the process of utilising the data. If there are values that arise with the skills of the business that you create, own that skill.


Preparation on the data journey

When starting to rely on data, the first and foremost thing to do is to align everything to the goals of the organisation.

Regulatory bodies should always promote the welfare of both organisations and stakeholders, without sacrificing the adherence to ethical, environmental, and legal standards.


To summarise

Data should be used to drive improvement in society: the way people work, the way they operate and to tackle some really big problems that can be solved with data. Chief data officers and data analysts must be critical in processing, analysing and interpreting data. Technology and skills can be capitalised on, to stand against the intense competition in the modern world. Innovations and change rooted in the use of data must always adhere to ethical, environmental, and legal standards.

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