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Jon Hussey, chief data officer, Barclays Payments

Jon Hussey

Path to power

I have been lucky enough to spend my entire 30 year career at Barclays, rising from the lowest entry level branch roles to managing director. I have worked across so many businesses and functions, but data has always been at the heart of my ability to lead change and develop enhanced capabilities for the bank and our customers.

 

The best way to truly understand and appreciate the power of data is through experiencing and seeing with your own eyes the end-to-end processes, customer needs and vast opportunities that exist within any organisation to unleash. I have also had the incredible opportunity to work with data talent around the world (US, South Africa, India, the Middle East and Europe) with a three-year period living in Johannesburg delivering pan-African technology solutions – all powered by data.

 

I started my current role in March 2017, building and leading a brand new data and strategic analytics capability, internally branded “DASA” for Barclays payments. We’re the leading UK bank in payments processing and have access to a huge proportion of all UK payments received and made, across all channels. A dream role for anyone with a genuine passion for leveraging and innovating with data.

 

What is the proudest achievement of your career to date?

There are three development of which I am most proud:

 

- Developing young talent and the next generation of data leaders
[Introducing a Data Apprenticeship Programme to Barclays, then seeing our data apprentices winning industry awards including Rising Star 2018 and Data Apprentice of the Year 2019 - DataIQ]

 

- Development and delivery of pioneering analytic products into profitable live solutions that customers/clients need and want [Payment Acceptance Optimisation Product – winning Analytics Product of the Year 2019 – National Technology Awards]

 

- Exploring how data can help support and enhance society and living standards
[Spearheading the Barclays and UK ONS collaboration – investigating how payments data can support faster and more granular economic indicators].

 

Who is your role model or the person you look to for inspiration?

My dad. He passed away in 2018 but taught me the most important lesson in life: Be the change in the world that you would want to see, don’t spend your life waiting or complaining that others are getting it wrong.

 

Did 2019 turn out the way you expected? If not, in what ways was it different?

Life is exciting if you don’t expect anything but enjoy and learn from the experience.

 

What do you expect 2020 to be like for the data and analytics industry?

As fast paced, evolving and exciting as ever. The constant pace of fintech innovation, digitisation and competition moves data further and further into the reason why companies win, just survive or so tragically die. Data is now more than the lifeblood of successful business, but the heartbeat of how they must operate to meet consumers’ desire for simplicity, transparency and immediate action. We’ve all grown to expect instant, not within 30 days, not next week or tomorrow, but now. Data both enables and liberates individuals and businesses; but get it wrong and it stifles and suffocates.

 

Data and technology are changing business, the economy and society – what do you see as the biggest opportunity emerging from this?

The speed of change in the world continues to increase. Data and technology are at the heart of this metabolic acceleration. Whether it’s medicine, climate, food or financial services, data and technology advancement continue to offer us huge opportunities to enhance the lives of all.

 

Building strong, close communities is being recognised as core to success for our ever growing population. Communities that share a common purpose and align and work together will make the biggest difference. That’s our biggest opportunity, to learn, share and align as part of a strong and powerful data community.

 

What is the biggest tech challenge you face in ensuring data is at the heart of your digital transformation strategy?

The pace of change. There is already so much technical debt, but digital transformation offers use the opportunity to rearchitect, with straight through processing, frictionless and simple customer journeys. However, speed is of the essence. Companies that don’t react fast will die fast. Individuals/customers vote with their feet, or in reality with their mobile phones. So, speed and agility are our opportunity and our enemy. Data and digital solutions must be seamlessly integrated and expertly architected. Strong controls and governance that are embedded within agile delivery teams. Pace is our biggest opportunity and our biggest challenge.

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