Mark Dundon, chief technology officer, WSYBCSU
Talking big data in Berlin
15 September 2014

Earlier this year, our Chief Information Officer, Mark Dundon was nominated as one of the top 100 CIOs by CIO UK.  As part of this, he was invited to speak at their summit in Berlin, as one of five exclusive speakers.  Delegates included CIOs and supply chain partners from across EU, and Mark was the only CIO from within the health sector.  Read more about his experience below.

The CIO summit was a thought leadership event designed to be progressive around topics and to contribute to each other's initiatives and strategy. This meant that CIOs from across all sectors were able to benefit from one another's valuable experience.  Throughout and post presentations discussions ensued which then allowed for valuable feedback, ideas sharing, debate and so on.

I was asked to be the headline speaker on benefit of "big data" (a phrase so often over-used) and impact of business intelligence into the health sector within the UK.  My key points included health economy direction as well as commissioning.  I was also asked to be on the opening discussion panel in the keynote morning session.

I ran through a discussion around what big data is, the importance around the beneficial outputs and contribution to the business (in our case patients) rather than being too hung up and drawn around the technical data sources. In other words the BIG is all about the positive impact to the business context not the amount of data being held or used. From my point of view it's all about the former.

What was fascinating to me was that my definition around what "big data" is/should be was seen as progressive.  "No matter the depth or breadth of data source(s), BIG data is BIG CONTRIBUTION to decision making.  The BIG is not in the source, the BIG is in the value adding intelligence contribution."

I gave examples outlining the above definition using my strategic intent within the CSU and NHS around tiers 1-3.  This is my definition of the three levels of business intelligence:

Tier 1 = data

Tier 2 = tools/dashboards

Tier 3 = intelligence

The delegates liked my simplicity of general communication and consumption by non-technical parties (critical for business stakeholders to understand).  They were also very interested in how I am planning delivery for filling the gaps in true intelligence capability (tier 3) - in particular my virtual team model - to ensure and maintain critical contextual intelligence whilst analysing data in tier 1 and information represented in graphs and dashboards etc in tier 2 to obtain and deliver the desirable BIG outputs / contribution in tier 3 intelligence back to the customer.

The benefits to me and the NHS throughout the day were:

 1. Positive feedback around strategic intent and sharing of ideas and experiences to overcome technical challenge; and

 2. All those present found it fascinating to hear about the NHS, what we are trying to achieve as a CSU to help commissioning, a realisation around the complexity and challenges of health within the UK, and the excitement of possibilities from a technical BI and big data perspective to help with these challenges. 

It was great to be banging the drum for the NHS and I enjoyed the opportunity to have some real debate around big data. 

West and South Yorkshire and Bassetlaw Commissioning Support Unit

West Yorkshire office:
Douglas Mill
Bowling Old Lane
Bradford
West Yorkshire
BD5 7JR

Tel: 0845 1115000

South Yorkshire and Bassetlaw office:
722 Prince of Wales Road
Darnall
Sheffield
South Yorkshire
S9 4EU

Tel: 0114 3051000

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