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“COVID has made our AI models redundant”

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A report has highlighted the need for fresh data models – at a time when 65% of tech experts are furloughed.

Big Data LDN, which runs the UK’s largest event for data, published the findings of its UK Fourth Industrial Revolution 2020 Report recently.

The independent research surveyed 250 of the UK’s most influential data leaders as they battled through the COVID-19 pandemic, in the wake of regulatory confusion and the UK’s imminent departure from the European Union.

COVID-19 has pushed the UK into its first recession in eleven years, with employers furloughing or making redundant in-house data specialists and prioritising external contract staff over permanent employees.

Some 65% of UK data leaders were forced to rely on the Government’s furlough scheme.

The pandemic has also put a spotlight on how organisations use technology to weather the pandemic.

Some 76% of UK data leaders believe data changes caused by COVID have made their use of AI models redundant.

The lack of accurate data has also forced UK organisations to reassess business strategies.

Insurance & financial services firms struggled the most, with 70% finding the lack of up-to-date data has forced them to rethink their approach.

This year, UK data leaders feel unprepared for the regulatory landscape, post Brexit, with 66% demanding more clarity on how the changes in the legality of data sharing practices will affect them once formally separated from the EU.

Retail organisations feel the most in the dark with 72% wanting more transparency on EU data laws, followed by 66% of public sector and insurance & financial services firms.

Big Data LDN founder Bill Hammond, said: “Data professionals are watching intently as data becomes the battleground for competing global nation states. UK businesses are losing trust in Governments, favouring major cloud players in their stead. Meanwhile regulation adapts to protect the privacy of citizens, raising questions about who will steer the UK’s Fourth Industrial Revolution.”

Other Fourth Industrial Revolution Report 2020 findings include:

1. People vs. Machines – 62% of public sector organisations claim the inability to implement change management holds them back from business goals.

2. Data initiative spend – Average spend on data driven initiatives has decreased to £1.8m, a 22% decrease YOY.

3. Hottest skills – Open source is in demand. 46% of UK businesses plan to implement more Open Source software, versus just 30% who plan to use more proprietary software.

4. CDO priorities – 55% of UK data leaders stated that data quality was a key focus for CDOs, staying on top and seeing a steep increase from 41% last year. Moving up even more, 52% of respondents stated accountability around key metrics as a top priority, rising from 23% in previous research.

5. Data bias is a risky business – Some 82% of UK businesses claim their data is disproportionately weighted to specific location demographics.

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