putting down the right ethical
foundations for future generations.
I’m leading a very exciting
initiative called the Value of Data.
Scotland is experiencing a data
renaissance, and it’s powering
ambitious economic growth.
The Value of Data campaign has
been created to help elevate and
champion the role of data from
classroom to boardroom – and
help organisations across the UK
responsibly deliver value to their
customers. We’re working closely
with academia, government, and
the public and private sectors
to introduce bold, innovative,
data-led approaches to customer
engagement, underpinned by solid
ethical frameworks.
This project aims to ask difficult
questions about where the value
of data really lies. In the data? Its
quality, its quantity? Or in the way
we use it to create better outcomes
for customers? By having better
values, could organisations deliver
better outcomes to their business,
their customers, and society at
Hopefully, soon, we’ll have
answers to some of these questions.
Firas Khnaisser is the chair of Data
and Marketing Association Scotland

Companies are
getting to know
their online
clients better,
with the latter
creating many
things that
are valuable to
Inset, Firas
Main picture:

Rachel Aldighieri,
managing director of
DMA, pictured, states
that although her
organisation represents
1,000 firms across the
UK, Scotland is a key
“This is where the
academic excellence
and infrastructure lies
around data, technology
and fintech,” she says. “There are lots
of opportunities for collaboration
to deliver on our Value of Data
campaign – and to work on wider
issues around trust, transparency and
“As the trade association for the
data and marketing industry, we have
a clear focus on the customer, and as
such much of our activity is around
building trust in the use of data. For
people to give you their data, trust
is essential. Everyone who joins the
DMA signs up to our code of conduct
which has the ‘hero principle’ of
putting your customer first.
“We want to build transparency and
accountability to do the right thing

by the customer; we are the
customer voice around the
table when key discussions
are taking place about data.
“It’s also about getting
the right balance between
privacy and innovation, and
that is often a tension point.
Regulators can go down a
very privacy-focused route,
and it’s our job to take the
conversation down customerfocused routes that still protect
DMA Scotland is running the
Data as a Force for Good event
during the Scotland Fintech
Festival in September, working
with Lending Crowd and
Sustainably to look at
how data can be used
to develop better, more
transparent services.
“It’s important for
our members to look
at how they can
make customers
a stakeholder
and partner in the
business,” says Aldighieri.

She adds that DMA Scotland is a
crucial partner in Scotland’s data
boom: “As a trade association, we
have a really important role to build
bridges. What is encouraging in
Scotland is that the data community
is quite small, and you can wrap your
arms around it. The quality of the
people in that community is very
high and they are all pushing in the
same direction; it’s a small,
vibrant and impressive
“We have some
challenges but we are
well-aligned to face
them. The data ethics
issue is often seen as
a problem, but we
think it is a real
opportunity –
it’s realistic for
Edinburgh to be
the data capital
of Europe and
potentially, as often
cited by our DMA
Scotland Chair, the
data ethics capital of
the world.”