The Data Literacy Project - aimed at strengthening skills among the workforce and forge a society “fluent in data” - might have attracted some big industry brands but the vast majority of data scientists are still concerned about the lack of data literacy in the UK.
The Qlik-led project, launched in October last year with Accenture, Cognizant, Experian, the Chartered Institute of Marketing, Pluralsight, and Data to the People as founding members is committed to working to inspire major organisations globally to make data literacy an imperative.
However, according to research commissioned by Digital Transformation Expo Europe, nearly three-quarters (74%) of data professionals remain troubled about the issue.
Some believe the lack of data literacy could make the general population susceptible to manipulation by public figures through statistics, which could have profound implications on issues such as Brexit, immigration, politics and defence.
In a bid to eradicate the dishonest use of data by public figures, organisations and in fake news stories, 70% of the data science community believe there should be more use of data for social good, with 56% noting that data held by the public sector could be released and used to enable new services to be developed.
When asked about the use of data and statistics within business, data scientists were in agreement that senior management see data analysis as an important part of defining their organisations plans and activity, with 27% deeming it "critically important" for day to day operations and 26% for long-term planning.
Meanwhile over three-quarters (78%) of those surveyed say their C-suite is using hard data to make business decisions and nearly a third (31%) noted that the C-suite benefited more than any other business area from data analysis.
However, despite this positive outlook for data value, 86% of respondents stated that their organisation could gain even more value and insights from their data, if there was unlimited resources and access to data-sets.
In fact, 87% say they are delayed in delivering analysis by internal barriers to data access, with 29% stating they do not have easy access to raw data for analysis and 32% noting a lack of understanding of data use within the organisation that prevents the free movement of data within the organisation.
When asked about the frustrations they face in their role, data scientists cited legacy systems as the biggest bug bear, with a third (34%) noting it as one of the top frustrations for the entire profession. This was followed by cleaning data-sets (32%), a lack of access to quality data insight tools (30%) and a lack of understanding of data within the organisation (30%).
Digging deeper, nearly four-fifths (79%) of those surveyed claim that at least 20% of their working day is spent cleaning and preparing unfinished data-sets.
Digital Transformation Expo group content director Harry Chapman said: "Without a doubt data is becoming the most valuable asset many organisations have, regardless of whether they are public or private. But as data becomes more commonplace in our lives, we have a duty to ensure that it is kept securely and managed fairly, while balancing this with access to the right data to ensure businesses thrive.
"It’s only by ensuring this that we will see improvements in how organisations benefit from data, in how data and statistics are perceived, and in how data is used within the public eye."