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Hi John, please tell us how you realized your passion for everything to do with AI, Data, & Advanced Analytics?

John Thompson

Shortly after leaving college, it became clear to me that when thinking about technology, what was essential to making an impact was the combination of data and software, not one or the other.  After realizing the need for data and software, it was clear to me that analyzing data was far more exciting and useful than working with transaction processing systems.

In my 2nd post-college job, I explained to two executives that I loved working with data and analyzing data to determine the root causes of problems.  I told them that I enjoyed coming up with novel solutions to help the business improve.  I asked where in the business I would fit best to concentrate on this type of work.  They told me to quit.  They went on to say that there was no place in the business for a person like me.  So, I did.  I found a job that enabled me to focus on data and analytics full-time.  That was the start of my data and analytics journey.

As the Global Head of Advanced Analytics & Artificial Intelligence at CSL Behring, a global biotechnology leader named by Forbes magazine, how would you describe your responsibilities?
John Thompson

My role is to lead a team of analytics experts – data scientists, data engineers, and developers to build novel applications that have a strategic impact on the business.

You have spent the majority of your career dynamically transforming organizations. What, according to you, has been the most difficult challenge thus far, and how did you go about solving it?
John Thompson

The most difficult challenge is communicating with non-technical executives and convincing them that they should change how their organizations operate based on data and analytics and become data-driven.

COVID-19 vaccine is finally here, and industries worldwide are slowly regaining their footing in the market. What do you think is the biggest threat that still looms over the tech-startups? 
John Thompson

Startups are great.  I have spent most of my career working in emerging firms.  I am confident that the biggest challenges faced by start-ups have nothing to do with COVID.  

Although there are many emerging firms working on numerous aspects of the world impacted by COVID if you ask me the greatest threat to a start-up, I would say that it is developing a relevant solution to the users to solve the problem that the users face.  To sum it up, I would say the biggest challenge is relevance.

You are a Best-Selling Author and an excellent keynote speaker. What goes into your thought process while writing something from your experience? And how are your books redefining the AI space?
John Thompson

Before I start writing anything, I think about the value that I want to deliver to my readers.  I focus on the reader and how I can help them understand how to plan for and reach their goals.

Both of my Books:

  • Analytics: How to Win with Intelligence
  • Building Analytics Teams: Harnessing advanced analytics & AI for business improvement

They are written as “how-to” books that lead readers toward a goal or objective.  

The first book is for non-technical executives to understand how to invest in and create an analytical strategy and focus at the corporate level.  

The second book is for senior managers tasked with building an analytics function to deliver business improvement through data and analytics projects.  

Both books are helping organizations of all sizes understand how to be more data-driven.

CSL Behring recently partnered with Lyfebulb to introduce TransplantLyfe, a first-of-its-kind community engagement platform for transplant patients. What should other exciting launches be expected from the company in the next five years? Any specific project that you are working on?
John Thompson

We are working on several exciting initiatives, but I can’t talk about them because they are sources of competitive advantage.

We are focused on making operations more efficient, improving our donors’ experience, ensuring that we are serving our patients in the most effective and efficient ways possible, and we want to make a life for all our stakeholders better.

Lastly, any advice for future entrepreneurs hoping to make a mark in the already saturated tech industry?
John Thompson

Spend almost all your time defining the problem.  Solving the wrong problem is never useful.

Once you have defined the right target, you can solve it with zeal.  

Disha Bhattacharya is a seasoned content writer prolific in engaging the customer with her content in any given realm of writing. With 6 years of Freelance Content Writing and 3 years of Marketing Management experience up her sleeve, she believes in transforming businesses with her well-researched, SEO-based, innovative content. A story-teller at heart and a perfectionist by nature, she rolls out informative content with a personal touch that provides an entertaining read to the audience.

Posted in Interviews By Disha Bhattacharya   Date February 25, 2021

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