Dean of Big Data

William Schmarzo

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Latest Blogs from William Schmarzo
The recent deluge of rains in Northern California have flooded streets, brought down trees and plugged storm sewers. As I was trying to make my way around the neighborhood, I thought of a classroom exercise to help my MBA students to identify the use cases upon which they could focus ...
Well, my recent University of San Francisco research paper “Applying Economic Concepts To Big Data To Determine The Financial Value Of The Organization’s Data And Analytics Research Paper” has fueled some very interesting conversations. Most excellent! That was one of its goals. It is...
“Apophenia is the propensity to see patterns in random data.” We encounter it all the time in the real world. Examples include gamblers who see patterns in how the cards are being dealt or investors who imagine patterns in the movement of certain stocks, or basketball fans who believe...
My daughter is taking a class on entrepreneurship in her senior year of high school (yep, that’s the Silicon Valley for you). She loves the class, the energy of the teacher, and the creativity associated with the subject. As a result, we have had several conversations about what does i...
“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 ...
I have seen the future! Of course, I seem to say that every other month (maybe that’s because the future keeps changing?), but this is a good one. The future is a collision between big data (and data science) and application development that will yield a world of “intelligent apps.” Th...
A recent article titled “We Are Likely 3-5 Years Out From Advanced Analytics Being Critical To The Viability Of A Company” (and I thought my titles were too long) interviewed Walter Storm, the Chief Data Scientist at Lockheed Martin. The article offers some great perspectives such as: ...
Okay, I am weird (tell me something that I don’t know, say most of my friends). For Christmas I wanted a Nike Apple Watch to go with my existing FitBit and Garmin fitness trackers (I look sort of like a cyborg in the photo below…which is always cool).
My son Max is home from college and that always leads to some interesting conversations. Max is in graduate school at Iowa State University where he is studying kinesiology and strength training. As part of his research project, he is applying physics to athletic training in order to...
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...
“Maturity models” can be very useful. Every analyst firm and most vendors have created some sort of maturity model. Not only can a maturity model benchmark where you are with respect to your cohorts, but good maturity models also provide a roadmap to help organizations advance along th...
In January 28, 2013, we released the “Big Data Storymap”. Since releasing the storymap, we have gotten lots of positive feedback. It really seemed to work in highlighting the key aspects and approaches to achieving big data success. So I thought I’d take the opportunity to re-visit the...
My daughter called with a frantic message. She was driving my car (why she was driving my car when she has her own is the subject for another time) and a warning message appeared on the car console: “Engine overheated! Stop engine and allow to cool down” (see Figure 1). Fortunately, m...
I’m a fan of Woody Allen movies, especially his earlier movies (can’t tell you how much I learned from the movie “Everything You Always Wanted to Know About Sex…” but that’s a topic for a different blog). In the Woody Allen classic “Annie Hall,” Woody Allen’s character (Alvy Singer) ma...
The first part of the CDO Toolkit provided the CDO with a process of identifying, assessing, and estimating the value of the organization’s data in support of the organization’s key business initiatives. CDO also needs a process for capturing, refining and re-using the organization’s a...
Yes, Internet communities can augment and expand thinking. Case in point: I want to thank Jean-Paul Bretons who replied to my blog “2016 Presidential Election: Did Big Data Just Get Lazy?” with the following observation: “Changing the way the pollsters asked the question might have cha...
“Oh, somewhere in this favoured land the sun is shining bright, The band is playing somewhere, and somewhere hearts are light; And somewhere men are laughing, and somewhere children shout, But there is no joy in Mudville—mighty Casey has struck out.” – Casey At The Bat Mighty Cas...
The Chief Data Officer (CDO) role is red hot!! If you don’t have one, then you are totally uncool and unprepared to reap the bounty of wealth offered up by Big Data and the Internet of Things (IOT). Gartner predicts that 90 percent of large companies will have a CDO role by the end of ...
I know that I’ve hit the big (data) time when concepts that I developed start to appear as infographics.  Today I am very proud to announce the launching of the demystified Big Data Business Model Maturity Index (BDBMMI) infographic! Through the usage of clear, simple language paired w...
As a consumer, the recent revelation about a major U.S. financial institution creating fraudulent customer accounts in order to increase employees’ and managements’ bonuses was incredibly disturbing. Customer trust is so hard to gain, and there is a huge lesson in this story as organiz...
A question that I surprisingly never get asked is “what about putting the data lake in The Cloud?”  Now maybe I’m not asked that question because organizations are still confused as to what is a data lake?  Or maybe I’m not asked that question because everyone (but me) already knows th...
While on vacation, I had a most interesting conversation with my niece’s husband, Jason Jensen.  Jason is a leading architect and president of Wannemacher Jensen Architects.  Jason’s firm specializes not only in innovative design, but knows how to turn innovative design into practical ...
How effective is your organization at leveraging data and analytics to power the business? It’s a question we pose at the beginning of nearly every customer conversation, and worth careful consideration. Why? Because organizations do not need a big data strategy; they need a business s...
Ugh. I see so many organizations get so close to the goal line with Big Data, and then get sidelined by something that is not nearly as important to the business. It is easy to see how these organizations get distracted as they get near the Big Data goal line, because the average CIO a...
Okay, okay, that seems like an odd thing to say. But at a recent keynote, that came out of my mouth. But that’s a confusing statement, so let me share the entirety of what I said: Big Data is about getting small; it’s about getting down to the level of the individual. Sometimes the B...
My friend Dan sent me this press release (since he knows that I like all things “Data Analytics” related). In the press release, “Boeing Announces Data Analytics Agreements with Six Airlines,” Boeing announces that they are providing advanced analytic solutions to several airline custo...
I’ve heard several clients complain about the curse of “orphaned analytics”; which are one-off analytics developed to address a specific business need but never “operationalized” or packaged for re-use across the organization. Unfortunately, many analytic organizations lack a framework...
Data is an unusual currency. Most currencies exhibit a one-to-one transactional relationship. For example, the quantifiable value of a dollar is considered to be finite – it can only be used to buy one item or service at a time, or a person can only do one paid job at a time. But measu...
Antonio Figueiredo (@afigueiredo) recently challenged me on twitter with an interesting question: How would the Big Data Business Model Maturity Index (BDBMMI) change to support the Internet of Things (IoT)? My hope is that the BDBMMI would not need to change to support IoT. It is my h...
This is another topic that has taken me a long time to write, but several conversations with Peter Burris(@plburris) from Wikibon finally helped me to pull this together. Thanks Peter! I’ve struggled to understand and define the Intellectual Capital (IC) components – or dimensions – o...
I was recently interviewed by Bitrix24.com for a blog titled “Interview With “Dean of Big Data” Bill Schmarzo” and thought I’d share my answers with my readers.  Nothing earth shattering, but then again, not much in my life is earth shattering. You are known for the develop...
I had the opportunity during a recent Big Data Vision Workshop to help a client determine where and how to leverage their wealth of anonymous MAC address data to support the organization’s key business initiatives. A very cool client with a lot of creative people always makes for a suc...
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 [...
Imagine my surprise when reading the March 28, 2016 issue of BusinessWeek and stumbling across the article titled “Lies, Damned Lies, and More Statistics.” In the article, BusinessWeek warned readers to beware of “p-hacking” which is the statistical practice of tweaking data in ways th...
I recently wrote about the two D’s of Big Data: Disintermediation and Disruption. As I stated in that blog: Across multiple industries, startups are coupling new big data technologies and new sources of data with advanced analytics (data science) to uncover new customer, product, oper...
Over the past 2 decades, we have spent considerable time and effort trying to perfect the world of data warehousing. We took the technology that we were given and the data that would fit into that technology, and tried to provide our business constituents with the reports and dashboard...
The hype is huge around the Internet of Things (IoT) and the Internet of Everything (IoE), but the potential often gets lost in endless discussions about the technologies that underpin the IoT and IoE (sensors, beacons, telematics, fitness trackers, mobile apps, global positioning devi...
A recent article in BusinessWeek (January 19, 2016) titled “Better Living Through Robots” indicates that productivity-enhancing technology innovation has reached its end. Experts such as Tyler Cowen, an economist at George Mason University and the author of “The Great Stagnation”, beli...
A recent article on Fortune.com titled “Why Big Data Isn’t Paying Off for Companies (Yet)” highlights that the vast majority of companies are still struggling with big data. The article quotes a study from the American Institute of CPAs (AICPA) and its London counterpart, the Chartered...
Those of us who have been in IT since the early 90’s are all guilty of training our internal business partners to ask us for things that they don’t really want. We have trained them to ask us for reports. It started with the best of intentions – giving the business users information fr...