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Russell Barton, vice-president, senior customer information manager, Barclays

Russell Barton

Path to power

I’ve been working at Barclays for longer than some of my co-workers have been alive. Having started my career in the branch network on more traditional banking activities, I then switched and spent 12 years as a project manager. Over that period, I gradually became focused on regulatory and data-related projects, covering areas such as external reporting to the FCA, KYC and data quality.

 

I then took on a role in the newly-formed Information Business within Barclays, where for the past six years I’ve been looking at all aspects of data, including the use of data and how we communicate that to customers.

 

It’s an exciting team to work in and definitely the most rewarding role I’ve had in Barclays so far – nothing stays still for long in the world of data and I enjoy the constant new challenges and the opportunities to provide new products and benefits for our customers and clients.

 

What is the proudest achievement of your career to date?

Gaining external recognition through the DataIQ Talent Awards and the DataIQ 100 has been a highlight for me. It’s been great to use that as a catalyst to connect with others in the industry.

 

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

I think the Brexit debate overshadowed most things in 2019, more so than I was expecting, and the uncertainty it created held back a lot of industries.

 

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

Exciting and full of opportunities, but with those will come a continued level of scrutiny. I think there will be an even bigger focus on the ethical use of data and the level of choice that people have over the use of their data. Consumers will expect to be told what’s in it for them and what benefit they are receiving from the use of their data.

 

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

From a consumer perspective there’s an increasing recognition of the possibilities of joining data from all parts of their lives – banking, health, travel etc. There’s a golden opportunity to facilitate this in exchange for being able to use the data for analytics purposes and to develop new data-based products.

 

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

Over 300 years of history as an organisation means that the data has accumulated from a lot of sources and is stored in a number of different places. Bringing this together in a consistent way can be a challenge, but it’s vital to achieve our data goals.

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