RIS: Technology is only part of a successful analytics initiative; the other half is people. How can retailers build an analytics-focused enterprise?
Chapo: Years ago, I heard a mantra that resonates with me to this day: “Have a big vision, but start with small bites.” While many companies have bold aspirations to reinvent their core business processes based on data and analytics, those who are successful pick one area to get started. The hard part is determining where to start.
Many attempt the traditional impact-versus-effort approach, yet struggle to find something that is impactful enough as a starting point. An alternate approach is to identify those initial opportunities that have the highest likelihood of success, which builds organizational buy-in and the momentum for change. Key questions to hone in on include:
- “Where can we most quickly drive value?”
- “What areas are not being addressed at all?”
- “Where do I already have a willing partner?”
RIS: What role does cloud computing play in winning with analytics?
Chapo: The cloud allows analytics leaders to focus on solving business and customer problems as opposed to worrying about infrastructure and tools. Analytics offerings from cloud providers like AWS store massive amounts of data with fast interactive analytics, without the overhead of hosting platforms internally. Additionally, cloud providers make it possible for data scientists at retailers to start small and leverage pre-built cloud AI and ML services to rapidly deploy solutions like product recommendations, forecasting, and image recognition without the need to build the stack from scratch. Put simply, the cloud is the analytics leader’s secret weapon to unlock speed to value for the enterprise.