Sopra Steria partners with ODI for data ethics offering

25 March 2021 3 min. read

Sopra Steria and Open Data Institute have forged a new partnership to help more UK organisations make better, more ethical use of data.

Countless examples from recent years show that the abuse of data can cause major public harm, and the loss of trust incurred by these events have long-reaching impacts on the way data will be used in the future. Fear of harms caused by the use and misuse of data can lead people to opt out of data collection or avoid using services; while organisations may avoid collecting, using or sharing data to avoid risks

Speaking about the impact of this, Open Data Institute (ODI)’s Chief Strategy Advisor Jeni Tennison recently warned that businesses must work to show ethical use of data, or risk missing out on the major benefits it also brings.

In the foreword of a report published by ODI, Tennison said, “Data flows can create value for our societies in a myriad of ways: when data is made open or shared, it enables better decisions, more effective policies, more innovative and useful services, and generally can make our lives better, while fuelling economic growth and productivity.”

Sopra Steria partners with ODI for data ethics offering

“Trust is complex, and so is its impact on the value of data. But it is a question worth exploring: understanding the economic value of trust in data ecosystems would help policymakers and companies justify investment in activities that assess, build, and demonstrate trust and trustworthiness.”

Now, as ODI looks to pursue this agenda further, it has teamed up with global consulting firm Sopra Steria. As the first professional services firm in the UK to partner with ODI, the advisory firm will now work to adopt ODI’s new approach to developing data ethics skills.

The alliance will see ODI and Sopra Steria combine their expertise to create a new course, training business and public sector professionals in ODI’s data ethics methodologies. Initially, this will centre on Sopra Steria consultants being formally trained using ODI’s certified data ethics tools, which will see them become qualified ‘ODI Data Ethics Facilitators’ – but then they will seek to drive digital and data ethics up the agendas of clients, by embedding the resulting best practices into their delivery work.

Stuart Coleman, Director of Business Development at ODI, remarked, “Enabling Sopra Steria’s consultants to encourage more ethical and responsible use of data in these sectors is aligned with ODI’s mission to make data work better for everyone. It will anchor data ethics in digital transformation programmes across more of society; and contribute to creating ethical data infrastructure at scale and pace.”

In future, the partnership will see Sopra Steria and the ODI look to offer a comprehensive service to clients – including data strategy, data policy, and data sharing capability services, combined with digital ethics and digital transformation services. It is a move which builds on the work from Sopra Steria’s Digital Ethics & Tech for Good practice, which launched in early 2020 in response to increased demand from customers for digital ethics consultancy.

Jen Rodvold, Head of Digital Ethics & Tech for Good at Sopra Steria, said, “As organisations seek to accelerate their digital transformation plans and use data to drive new business strategies, they will need digital ethics to build and maintain trust with users, employees, regulators and other stakeholders. Now is the time to turn digital ethics theory into action, and our partnership with the ODI means we are best placed to help customers access the value of their data while establishing digital ethics best practice in their governance, culture and ways of working.”

Earlier in 2021, Sopra Steria also announced a long-term strategic partnership with digital transformation specialist Step5 Group. The alliance reinforces the firm’s position as leaders in large-scale digital transformation – helping to optimise the transformation journeys for current and futures businesses.