Sears needs to embrace analytics, writes Pierre DeBois, founder of analytics consultancy Zimana. But of course, he was talking about improving customer experience across channels and embracing mobile in his post at All Analytics.
Sears is embracing analytics, though, by spinning off its own Big Data subsidiary called MetaScale. It developed the infrastructure over the past two years and now plans to make it available to other retailers, joining Amazon.com, Walmart and Staples in doing so. Spokesman Tom Aiello told the Chicago Tribune:
Now that we built it, we realize that a lot of companies were struggling with how to deal with 'big data.'
As RIS News explains it:
MetaScale expects to leverage its Hadoop expertise to partner with analytics tools and service providers as well as system integrators that lack Hadoop-based infrastructure capabilities.
The news hasn't been well received from a company that just posted a $2.4 billion quarterly net loss and its 19th consecutive quarter of declining sales. And one planning to close up to 120 Sears and Kmart stores due to poor sales. As retailwire's Richard Seesel put it:
If the methodology behind MetaScale were so effective, wouldn't we all be talking about Sears' great results in supply chain and inventory management?
And Bloomberg quotes Erik Gordon, a professor at the University of Michigan's Ross School of Business, wondering why Sears is trying to compete with the likes of IBM and Oracle on Big Data:
Doesn't Sears have enough problems competing with retailers?
Retailers also have "enough problems" attracting tech talent, since it's not considered as sexy as working for Facebook, Google or some hot startup. Yet Sears Holdings has 21 tech jobs posted at Dice.com. In the face of such naysayers, only those up for a big challenge need apply.