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Caroline Bellamy, Chief Data Officer, Ministry of Defence

Describe your career to date

Over the past 33 years I have worked with amazing colleagues and focused on achieving transformational outcomes across multiple industry sectors in the UK and internationally, including consulting, retail, utilities, telecommunications and geospatial. 


Some of my proudest achievements and also biggest challenges have come since taking on my current role where, as a director, I have been leading the data agenda, driving the transformation of digital and data capabilities for the Ministry of Defence. 


This current role pulls on all the threads of my career to date and challenges me every single day. It offers the opportunity to make a real difference, always focused on outcomes and impact where it really matters. It is humbling working with inspirational colleagues across the military, civil service, industry, partners and allies and especially the data and digital profession. 


Being open to challenges, willing to take risks, leading in adversity as well as success, embracing opportunities and diversity, humility, learning and promoting future talent are fundamental. I have a personal passion for promoting diversity and talent and I now also enjoy several advisory board roles. 

What stage has your organisation reached on its data maturity journey? 
Defence is committed and focused on realising its digital and data transformation, recognising the value and opportunity that data capabilities offer for improved outcomes and effects. The process of change is well under way and Defence is adopting a coherent and connected approach. We are a global, complex and diverse organisation and already realising the benefits, although there is a way to go before we reach maturity. The upside of this is the immense opportunity for digital careers and capabilities, where you can join to make a real difference at pace and scale.


Tell us about the data and analytics resources you are responsible for

My functional responsibility spans across the breadth of defence, partners allies and industry to drive coherence and focused outcomes. To achieve this, I work with colleagues across the digital function and wider organisation. I lead a dedicated, diverse and expert team centrally, who are based in multiple locations and have a hybrid way of working.

What challenges do you see for data in the year ahead that will have an impact on your organisation and on the industry as a whole?

We have to – and will – realise transformational change within a complex context of increased global conflict, operations and competition while ensuring we deliver maximum value for money for the taxpayer.  This will require us to have a relentless focus on clear priorities, delivery and effective and optimised ways of working. 


The challenges for data are clear, needing a focus on ensuring effective interoperability, curation and governance. Users must be enabled to leverage data at scale (for decisions, operations and insights) in a secure way with common digital, cyber and data standards being at the heart of what we do and often challenging complex environments.

Have you set out a vision for data? If so, what is it aiming for and does it embrace the whole organisation or just the data function?

We have set a clear defence-wide data strategy sponsored at the highest levels and are developing central, core and common enterprise data platforms services and architectures which can be leveraged across the organisation.


Have you been able to fix the data foundations of your organisation, particularly with regard to data quality?

We have a dedicated, funded and enduring programme to drive a common defence capability for data curation, management and governance, leveraging standard tooling and methodologies and also leading edge data fabric solutions. All work is priority outcomes focused, ensuring that all developments deliver in an agile way to realise incremental benefits and advantage.


Caroline Bellamy
has been included in:
  • 100 Brands 2019 (EMEA)
  • 100 Brands 2021 (EMEA)
  • 100 Brands 2022 (EMEA)
  • 100 Brands 2023 (EMEA)