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Dean of Big Data

William Schmarzo

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Latest Articles from William Schmarzo
I’ve always felt that bringing an economics perspective to our big data and digital transformation discussions is more important than a traditional accounting or even information technology (IT) perspective. Heck, I believe that a Chief Data Officer’s background should be more along th...
“You can’t stop the incessant march of economics” – Bill Schmarzo Okay, so it’s probably not cool to quote oneself, but hey, this is my blog and I get to do what I want. And for anyone who follows me knows, I love to “riff” on the game-changing power of economics. The “economics o...
It’s all over for us humans. It may not have been “The Matrix”[1], but the machines look like they are finally poised to take our jobs. Machines powered by artificial intelligence and machine learning process data faster, aren’t hindered by stupid human biases, don’t waste time with go...
“I have over 1,200 Data Analysts, so we have it nailed.” When I heard this being uttered by the head of their “analytics” group, I knew the meeting was over. I knew that I could safely close my laptop, put away my notebook, and gracefully thank them for their time. It didn’t matter ...
Wikibon just released their “2017 Big Data Market Forecast.” How rosy that forecast looks depends upon whether you look at Big Data as yet another technology exercise, or if you look at Big Data as a business discipline that organizations can unleash upon competitors and new market opp...
For a phrase that’s being thrown around a lot recently, what does “Digital Transformation” really mean? When someone says that they want to digitally transform their business, what does one really mean, why do they want to do it, and should they approach this “digital transformation” p...
A recent argument with folks whose intelligence I hold in high regard (like Tom, Brandon, Wei, Anil, etc.) got me thinking about the following question: What does it mean, as a vendor, to say that you support the Internet of Things (IOT) from an analytics perspective? I think the heart...
Industry after industry is under siege as companies embrace digital transformation (DX) to disrupt existing business models and disintermediate their competitor’s customer relationships. But what do we mean by “Digital Transformation”? The coupling of granular, real-time data (e.g., sm...
[Opening Scene]: Billy Dean is pacing the office. He’s struggling to keep his delivery trucks at full capacity and on the road. Random breakdowns, unexpected employee absences, and unscheduled truck maintenance are impacting bookings, revenues and ultimately customer satisfaction. He k...
Special thanks for the help on this blog to the coolest, most hip group of industry experts that I have ever met: the Pathfinders. The Pathfinders is an elite forces group of master system engineers inside of Dell EMC who tackle our customers’ most difficult and inspiring challenges. ...
Many times, sports have been at the leading edge of data analytics. The book “Moneyball” was one of the first popular books to bring the basic concepts behind data analytics and data science to the general audience. Fantasy leagues, sabermetrics and even games like “Strat-O-Matic” ba...
Many of my blogs promote the business benefits of the data lake, both from a “save me more money” as well as the “make me more money” perspectives. But I fear that I’m making this thing called the data lake sound like a “silver bullet[1]” – just drop the data into the data lake and eve...
One of the best parts of my job is talking to a wide variety of customers across a wide variety of industries at a wide variety of different points on their big data journey. I’ve recently had several customer engagements where the client’s top business initiative is creating a Custome...
I recently read an MIT Sloan Management Review article by Clayton Christensen’s recent book titled “The Hard Truth About Business Model Innovations.” While the article is full of great observations about business model transformation, the most important motivation for business model tr...
We developed the Big Data Business Model Maturity Index to help organizations measure how effective they were at leveraging data and analytics to power their business models (see Figure 1). What we hadn’t done until now, though, was to translate this index into a set of recommendation...
Has anyone not heard this phrase yet? This analogy was first presented by Clive Humby at the Association of National Advertisers (ANA), Senior Marketers Summit at Kellogg School in 2006. If you have been following and or are active in the analytics and data science community, I am sure...
The U.S. Presidential election is finally over. The protests are winding down, they’ve stopped burning cars in Oakland (for now), and the talks of California succession are waning. But I am struggling to return to “normal” because in this election, truth got hammered. Many candidates t...
I love the simplicity of the data science concepts as taught by the book “Moneyball.” Everyone wants to jump right into the real meaty, highly technical data science books. But I recommend to my students to start with the book “Moneyball.” The book does a great job of making the power ...
As more organizations try to determine where best to deploy their limited budgets to support data and analytics initiatives, they realize a need to ascertain the financial value of their data and analytics – which means basic economic concepts are coming into play. While many of you p...
How effective is your organization at leveraging data and analytics to power the business? This is the question that we pose at the beginning of our client conversations. Gaining intimate insights about your customer, product, and operational behaviors, tendencies, trends and propens...
I love EMC World (though I can’t say the same about Las Vega$). I get an opportunity to talk to customers who are at the dirty and grimy frontline of trying to derive value from all of this Big Data hoopla. They teach me tons! One theme that came up several times in our conversations ...
Okay, let me get this out there: I find the term “Citizen Data Scientist” confusing. Gartner defines a “citizen data scientist as “a person who creates or generates models that leverage predictive or prescriptive analytics but whose primary job function is outside of the field of stati...
I spend a lot of time helping organizations to “think like a data scientist.” My book “Big Data MBA: Driving Business Strategies with Data Science” has several chapters devoted to helping business leaders to embrace the power of data scientist thinking. My Big Data MBA class at the Uni...
Yep, I play Pokémon Go. I take joy walking around the neighborhood and in strange towns catching a Pinsir, Ponyta, or Growlithe or two (though I have to put up with those pesky Ekans, Paras and Spearows). You see, I play Pokémon Go for …er, um,… research purposes. I can’t help but t...
The holiday season is nearly upon us (I’ve already heard Christmas songs being played…really?) and retailers are usually the big winners during the holiday season. However, leading retailers are already thinking beyond the current holiday season, and not just from marketing and merchan...
I was reading an interview with John Krafcik, CEO of Google’s Self-driving Car Project, in the August 8th issue of Bloomberg BusinessWeek. The article referenced a survey by AlixPartners where they found that 73% of people wanted autonomous vehicles. But when people had the option to...
This is a short blog with a harsh message for Big Data vendors. Camera fades in to Pastor Schmarzo heading to the pulpit… What does the future hold for today’s big data vendors? Hundreds of startups are rushing into the big data market to stake their claim to a market that IDC pred...
Organizations have key business processes that they are constantly trying to re-engineer. These key business processes – loan approvals, college applications, mortgage underwriting, product and component testing, credit applications, medical reviews, employee hiring, environmental test...
DELL EMC’s Isilon division has been working with Major League Baseball Advanced Media (MLBAM) to create a data lake that provides a seamless process to add and maintain massive amounts of video data to serve their baseball fanatics (like me). Here is a cool 2-minute video that shows ho...
This is an unusual blog for me. Usually I talk about how organizations can more effectively leverage data and analytics to power their business. However, as I conduct more Big Data Vision Workshops, I have come to realize that a big part of the success of these engagements is the abili...
I wanted to gather all of my Internet of Things (IOT) blogs into a single blog (that I could later use with my University of San Francisco (USF) Big Data “MBA” course). However as I started to pull these blogs together, I realized that my IOT discussion lacked a vision; it lacked an en...
The Dean of the University of San Francisco School of Management, Elizabeth Davis, recently asked me to sit on a Big Data panel at the Direct Sales Association conference. I was given a 5-minute slot to “demystify” Big Data to a non-technical group of about 1,000 people; to help them u...
We’ve all been in those sales meetings. The sales person kicks off the meeting by welcoming everyone and introducing the topic of discussion. Then the pre-sales expert drags everyone through their 100-slide PowerPoint deck with enough buzzwords and confusing phrases (at 9 point font, o...
I hear it often; I need to acquire more customers like my “most valuable” customers. But what makes a customer “most valuable”? What are the characteristics and/or behaviors that make a customer “most valuable”? This simple question is anything but simple. Let me explain through an exe...
It’s that time of year that I review everything that I’ve written over the past year and share my favorite blogs. As many of you know, I travel frequently and because I’ve continuously seen every airline movie, I have plenty of time to write. And according to the commentary, every now ...
Instead of writing yet another “Big Data Predictions for the Next Year” blog, I thought I’d do something a bit different. Instead of predicting – like everyone else – what’s going to happen in 2016, let’s instead look out a few years and see how data and analytics might transform our l...
The potential of big data is only limited by the creative thinking of your business stakeholders, and that may be the most important concept in the “thinking like a data scientist” process. The “thinking like a data scientist” process guides the business stakeholders into envisioning ...
One question I frequently get is: “How do I become a data scientist?” Wow, tough question. There are several new books that outline the different skills, capabilities and technologies that a data scientist is going to need to learn and eventually master. I’ve read several of these b...
People and organizations are accustomed to relying upon “on average” guidelines in order to manage their lives and businesses. But “on average” guidelines are severely flawed. In reality, you are either spending too much or spending too little on your individual customers; you are wa...