Ahead of the IBM Chief Data Officer Summit on May 1-2, we got the chance to sit down with one of the 50+ speakers at the event, John Carter, who was recently named at one of the top 50 Data & Analytics professionals in the US & Canada.
John Carter is Senior Vice President of Analytics and Business Insight at Charles Schwab. In this role, John is creating a high performance analytics and research organization that provides thought leadership and actionable insights to drive company growth and client loyalty. John has extensive background in analytics, and is widely known as an expert in data, database marketing, segmentation and predictive modeling. Prior to joining Schwab, John was Chief Data Officer at Equifax, Inc. where he had global responsibility for data strategy, data acquisition, data quality and data analytics.
John Carter: I was humbled to be included in such an impressive list of data and analytics professionals and it was a huge honor to find out I had been selected as one of the 50 in Corinium’s list. I feel that this recognition is a reflection of the great work that my team and associates have accomplished here at Charles Schwab.
Q: Could you tell us a bit about your career path in data and analytics?
John Carter: While I started my career in statistical analysis, I had the opportunity early on to gain a diverse set of experiences. I had jobs in marketing, product management, operations and software development, but after doing those roles for a few years I decided that my real passion was in data and analytics. I therefore returned to leadership positions in data and analytics, which is where I am today.
Q: What has been the highlight of your career in the data and analytics industry so far to date?
John Carter: My career highlight in data and analytics has been the work I have undertaken at Charles Schwab over the past six years. Charles Schwab has a terrific culture of collaboration and putting our clients first, and we’ve been able to utilize data and analytics to create a high impact analytics organization at Charles Schwab.
Q: What do you expect this year to be like for the data and analytics industry?
John Carter: I think the data and analytics industry is going to grow in importance and capabilities this year. Companies like Charles Schwab are really recognizing the importance of data and analytics to serve their customers, and ultimately drive growth. Also, venture capitalists and vendors are seeing a fantastic opportunity to build new products and services to support the growth in data and analytics which in turn is also fueling innovation. So yes I think that data and analytics will continue to grow in importance and capabilities not just in 2018, but beyond.
Q: What are the best projects you have worked on in the data and analytics industry so far in your career?
John Carter: Some of the best projects I have worked on so far are the ones that have delivered a great deal of business value, and also projects where I’ve enjoyed working in collaboration with a team of hard working intelligent professionals. An example of this was early in my career where I was part of a team which pioneered the use of market research, audience measurement data and statistical models to help advertisers better target their audiences across TV, radio and other broadcast mediums.
Q: What is the best thing about working in the data and analytics industry for you so far?
John Carter: For me, the best thing about working in the industry is being able to work with smart people who are curious and passionate about using data and analytics to drive innovation and change. It motivates me to see all the great creativity and innovation across the industry overall.
Q: If you were granted one wish to change something about the data and analytics industry, what would that wish be?
John Carter: I think one of the things that I would like to change if I could is to try and get a better balance between the hype in data and analytics and the reality. We need more companies that really push past the hype and create real innovative solutions. As leaders in the data and analytics, one of our key responsibilities is to sort through fact vs. fiction to build capabilities that truly drive business value for our companies.
Q: What has been your toughest lesson to date in data and analytics?
John Carter: I learned a long time ago that trying to do things alone is a recipe for failure. The way to be successful is to create strong partnerships across your organization and collaborate effectively along the way.
Q: What do you think have been the biggest barriers to advancing the data and analytics capability at Charles Schwab?
John Carter: Charles Schwab is an extremely data driven company. We have been successful when we have gained executive support for our data and analytics initiatives and by collaborating effectively with our business partners and other key stakeholders such as our data and technology organizations.
Q: What do you think are the key thing or things that have revolutionized the data and analytics industry to date?
John Carter: I think the biggest things that have revolutionized the industry are companies that have been able to show value around the use of data and analytics, for example, when you see political elections being won through the use of data and analytics or baseball world series being won through advances in analytics. New companies are also transforming established business models such as Uber, Facebook, Amazon, and Netflix. With tremendous business value being generated by these companies and value-driven applications, everyone takes notice and wants to see how to better leverage data and analytics for their organizations.
Q: In terms of building trust, how can those in data and analytics become vital partners, rather than rivals for the marketing function in organizations?
John Carter: To build trust with a marketing department or any other organization you need to work in a very collaborative fashion. You need to understand their objectives and be able to translate those objectives into meaningful analytics that can help add value and insights.