Speaker Spotlight: Jonathan Westley

In our second Speaker Spotlight for 2019, Big Data LDN catches up with Jonathan Westley, Chief Data Officer at Experian.


Q – What does your day job entail?

As organisations of all shapes and sizes increasingly find themselves in possession of more customer information than ever before, there also comes great responsibility. This is where my remit starts - leading Experian’s regional data office, a single enterprise function of 145 people focusing on how we acquire, process, govern and use data both internally and externally.
The data office enables us to leverage new data talent, technology and the best practices that can help us gain the necessary insight to innovate and stay competitive in the market.

Q – When did you realise that you were suited to a career in data?

I’ve been involved in the data industry for well over 15 years having worked for Experian during this time. It was clear that as the technological revolution was moving forward, data was an essential factor as we started to accelerate digital transformation. So, from a very early stage in my career, I realised that data was the thing that was going to empower both companies and individuals, and I wanted to be part of that.

Q – What piece of advice would you give to someone starting out in data?

Recognise that change is an inevitability, in fact necessary and positive. That this change is only going to accelerate as we find new technologies that will help us manage the volume and velocity. I would also tell anybody trying to get into our industry to be prepared to keep up with the fast pace of change and be prepared to continually train yourself in new tech on a regular basis.

Q – What do you think will be the hot topics at Big Data LDN 2019?

I suspect we will hear a lot about the innovative ways organisations are embracing the Open Data era – developing new and exciting products and services that can help their customers get access to more dynamic services and better deals. And with that topic of conversation, it’s likely to move swiftly onto the regulation of that data, particularly focusing on security, transparency and control.
I also expect to hear lots about developments in artificial intelligence. But more so around how organisations are taking steps to explain how these models arrive at their decisions and the need for a comprehensive data ethics framework to ensure continual innovation in this space.

Q – What can people expect from your session?

There are 5.8 million people in the UK who are virtually invisible to the financial system, because there is insufficient information about them to make decisions. These thin and no-file consumers are generally excluded from large parts of the financial market, reducing their financial options, which in turn increases their cost of borrowing and living. Without access to affordable financial products this group, known as ‘The Invisibles’, have less choice and are forced to pay more – a “poverty premium”.


During my session at 11:10 on 14th November at Big Data LDN, I will not only cover the difficulties the invisible population face, but also how new data sources and cutting-edge technology can play a key role in helping every adult in the world become financially included.

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