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Bill Schmarzo is the CTO of EMC’s Big Data Consulting Practice and a frequent industry speaker, a blogger, a professor at the University of San Francisco School of Management as well as an author. Schmarzo wrote “Big Data MBA: Driving Business Strategies with Data Science” and “Big Data: Understanding How Data Powers Big Business”


Key Takeaways

  • The companies who are successful with Big Data addressed the cultural or people issues.
    • How do we get people engaged in the process so that we’re delivering the analytics in a way that is actionable to our stakeholders?
  • Many companies tend to start with implementing Hadoop and then waiting for magic to happen. It doesn’t happen.
  • Data science is really identifying the variables and metrics that MIGHT be a better predictor of performance.
    • “Might” is a license to be wrong and in many companies the idea of wrong is bad.
  • In the BI space, the IT departments over promised and under deliveredwhich has lead business leaders to be skeptical of Big Data initiatives.
  • You have to have a tight alignment between the business and IT to ensure that we are working on the right problems.
  • Pick a topic / problem that business users find is important, focus on strategic business initiatives.
    • Create a link between business and data scientists.
  • Create a culture of creativity across the whole organization.
    • Creativity is a contagious event.
    • All ideas are worthy of consideration.
    • We want people to be unafraid to be creative and sharing their ideas even if they may not work.
    • The best ideas come from front line.
    • Most large organizations struggle with protecting their own fiefdoms which leads to data silos.
  • Big Data is not about big, its about small.
    • Learn as much as possible about individual person, event and situation instead of looking at the average of the data.
    • Aggregated data is the devil. You need to work with raw to serve the individual.
  • Big Data initiatives tend to fail because the teams are focused on too many opportunities instead of being focused and priortizing the most important business problems.
    • Focus on one decision which has high value and high feasibility.
  • Big Data is a team sport.
    • We need everyone involved, including the business, the IT and the data scientists.
    • Success breeds success. Quick wins will catch the attention of other people and build a grassroots movement.


Resources Mentioned

  • Big Data MBA: Driving Business Strategies with Data Science by Bill Schmarzo
  • Big Data: Understanding How Data Powers Big Business by Bill Schmarzo
  • HTP-165 Stephen Gatchell – Big Data Lakes – EMC




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