Insights Government publishes research commissioned from EY into the “Data foundations and AI adoption in the UK private and third sectors”

DCMS appointed EY to conduct an evidence analysis and primary market research to assess the extent of data foundations and AI adoption. In addition, the research covered the impact of, and barriers to adopting data foundations.

The study sets out points of view from organisations across the UK economy, including third sector and SMEs, on the perceived value of data in decision-making, the adoption and use of data foundations and AI, barriers to the adoption of data foundations and the key considerations for Government to address these challenges.

The term ‘data foundations’ is defined in the National Data Strategy as data that is:

  • fit for purpose;
  • recorded in standardised formats on modern, future-proof systems; and
  • findable, accessible, interoperable and reusable (FAIR).

The overwhelming response from participants suggests that data is deemed important to the success and growth of organisations across the private and third sector.

However, some industries (e.g. life sciences, finance, industrial products) expect to derive greater value from improved data foundations than others (e.g., services and infrastructure). The research suggests that Government support in helping industries realise greater value from data foundations could positively impact the UK’s gross value-add (GVA).

Common challenges around the adoption of data foundations included the availability of staff with relevant data skills, challenges with legacy infrastructure, and lack of funding. These were identified across all sectors and industries of the UK economy. The research suggests that data-driven interventions could include encouraging organisations to redeploy funds, with a focus on improving data foundations adoption and supporting new job market entrants and experienced professional retraining for more data-enabled, technically focused roles.

Cultural challenges and obtaining buy-in from management are less common, which indicates that organisations broadly accept the need to adopt and improve data foundations to operate their businesses in the future successfully. To access the research, click here.