Over the past three years, I have overseen the development of the information business within Barclays UK, helping it to expand under the twin pillars of stewardship and commercialisation. Running a start-up business within an organisation with a 325-year history is no mean feat, yet this has been achieved at pace, evidenced by the income that has been generated and the influence it has had on customer outcomes.
I have moved the conversation on data within Barclays from the lens of privacy and compliance (GDPR) to focusing on using data in the best interests of customers and as a source of competitive advantage. I have been at the forefront of developing a new structure and processes that allow data to be shared across the group and with partners in a way that both complies with legislation and ensures Barclays customers’ safety and value are paramount.
I have also created a data strategy for Barclays that sets out a forward-thinking vision for future data usage, focused on ethical and trustworthy use of data, while promoting innovation and growth. Under my leadership and guidance, Barclays Market & Customer Insights (M&CI) product has been developed and launched, an innovative new service provided directly to clients or via partners, producing cutting-edge insights that harness the full potential of data from billions of debit and credit card transactions. Since launch, revenue has grown five-fold each year, with over one-third of sales coming from repeat business, demonstrating the value in the product.
I have also established the Data Science Academy, building home-grown data scientists to allow the business to grow internally. The team’s success can be seen by the number of external awards we have won, as well a growing reach and influence within the Barclays Group and beyond.
Creating teams and franchises that last way beyond my tenancy in the companies I have been fortunate to work in. Most recently I’m proud of our work:
- On financial vulnerability, which Data IQ members were kind enough to recognise, awarding it their Grand Prix;
- Developing a code of conduct for data usage to ensure we always do the right thing by our customers in everything we do;
- Establishing our Junior Data Science Programme that is now creating home grown data scientists;
- Lastly, helping UK plc grow via our Insights platform, helping blue chip companies grow their business.
I am blessed to have so many people in my life who give me inspiration, my children, my colleagues and my friends., but above all I draw inspiration from my faith as a Christian.
2019 seems now like it was the pivotal point for data, the year when the UK decided to stand up and notice data. We saw unprecedented interest in data from our regulators, and our customers. My only surprise really was that it was 2019 and not sooner, given the power that data has to transform lives for customers, colleagues and communities.
I expect 2020 will be the year of the two Es: ethics and explainability A new focus on ensuring we all use data and the power of analytics both ethically, and with clarity. Being able to clearly articulate and stand behind what analytical models are doing, and why this is the right thing, is bound to be key this year.
This is an area of which I am most passionate. I see daily how we are able to help customers, clients, colleagues and society with our data and the amount of value that is gained from understanding data is phenomenal. Working to ensure that data is the basis for decisions in all walks of life will bring constant benefits and help address many of life’s challenges, from global environmental issues, healthcare, and supporting local businesses all the way to saving people time.
I believe the biggest challenge for most of my clients is data literacy. It’s about knowing what you have, knowing what you can do with what you have, and knowing how to interpret what you have. And it needs to be something that all of your employees can understand, be behind and identify. How can you build a digital strategy if you do not have a solid understanding of your data? Data literacy will be key for businesses to thrive in the next few years.