Big Data

What Digital Transformation Means To Retailers

Bill Schmarzo By Bill Schmarzo CTO, Dell EMC Services (aka “Dean of Big Data”) May 25, 2017

A recent BusinessWeek article titled “America’s Retailers Are Closing Stores Faster Than Ever” summarizes the epidemic that retailers are facing today (see Figure 1).

Figure 1_Growing Epidemic of Store ClosuresFigure 1:  Growing Epidemic of Store Closures

Retailers are closing stores at a record path and the driving force behind the acceleration in store closings is Amazon, who now accounts for over 50% of all on-line retail sales (see Figure 2).

Figure 2_Amazon’s Growing Dominance of e-commerce

Figure 2:  Amazon’s Growing Dominance of e-commerce; source:  “Competitors Can’t Keep Up With Amazon’s Growth

What are retailers to do when the tricks and techniques that worked in the past just don’t work in today’s real-time data and analytics driven business world?  Business models that worked in a world that valued size and location quickly fall apart in a world where retailers are leveraging customer, product and operational data and analytics to provide a highly-personalization shopping experience and anticipate customers’ shopping desires to provide a wider range of highly-relevant, and easily accessible products (think Amazon 1-Click®).

Check out my interview on DealCrunch titled “How Dell EMC Helps Retailers Realize the Value of Their Data by Analyzing It to Predict Business Outcomes and Improve ROI” that discusses how retailers can take advantage of their customer, product and operational data to compete in this real-time, predictive retail world to optimize key operational processes, reduce security risks, uncover new revenue opportunities and provide a more personalized, more prescriptive customer experience from research and selection to product usage.

Bill Schmarzo

About Bill Schmarzo


CTO, Dell EMC Services (aka “Dean of Big Data”)

Bill Schmarzo, author of “Big Data: Understanding How Data Powers Big Business” and “Big Data MBA: Driving Business Strategies with Data Science”, is responsible for setting the strategy and defining the Big Data service offerings and capabilities for Dell EMC Services Big Data Practice. As the CTO for the Big Data Practice, he is responsible for working with organizations to help them identify where and how to start their big data journeys. He’s written several white papers, is an avid blogger and is a frequent speaker on the use of Big Data and data science to power the organization’s key business initiatives. He is a University of San Francisco School of Management (SOM) Executive Fellow where he teaches the “Big Data MBA” course. Bill was ranked as #4 Big Data Influencer by Onalytica.

Bill has over three decades of experience in data warehousing, BI and analytics. Bill authored Dell EMC’s Vision Workshop methodology that links an organization’s strategic business initiatives with their supporting data and analytic requirements, and co-authored with Ralph Kimball a series of articles on analytic applications. Bill has served on The Data Warehouse Institute’s faculty as the head of the analytic applications curriculum.

Previously, Bill was the vice president of Analytics at Yahoo where he was responsible for the development of Yahoo’s Advertiser and Website analytics products, including the delivery of “actionable insights” through a holistic user experience. Before that, Bill oversaw the Analytic Applications business unit at Business Objects, including the development, marketing and sales of their industry-defining analytic applications.

Bill holds a masters degree in Business Administration from the University of Iowa and a Bachelor of Science degree in Mathematics, Computer Science and Business Administration from Coe College.

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