Beth Schultz

Wal-Mart Dreams Up Insight Innovation

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Andrea Scarso
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Prospector
Re: Faceted search
Andrea Scarso   11/28/2012 8:25:51 PM
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@Beth: When ten years ago I met the concept of faceted navigation in Marti Hearst's papers, I have been impressed by the similarity of faceted navigation with classical multidimensional OLAP approach, as analyzed in many accademic papers (for example, www.siam.org/proceedings/datamining/2009/dm09_103_zhangd.pdf or nadav.harel.org.il/papers/p33-ben-yitzhak.pdf ).
But I have always been puzzled by the difficulty for this concept to gain ground in the Enterprise, where only numerical and structured data were analized in OLAP cubes, while faceted search was, at best, used by information architects to navigate intranet pages; missing completely, apart few experiences, the potentiality of analyze contextually numerical and textual informations.
Maybe now is the right time, as the WalMart project suggests, when social media data are approaching the volume of traditional numerical data.
Recent examples, http://iswc2011.semanticweb.org/fileadmin/iswc/Papers/Research_Paper/12/70310001.pdf, testify the interest in the concept, but the approach is still quite traditional.
I haven't personal experiences of large scale projects geared toward real-time facets extraction from social streaming, but I suppose that good canditates for an implementation stack could be Kafka, Storm, Lucene and Bobo.

BethSchultz
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Re: Faceted search
BethSchultz   11/28/2012 12:52:01 PM
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@Andrea Scarso, thanks for jumping into the conversation. Let me ask, where have you seen "faceted search meets social big data" on a smaller scale? (I'm not implying it hasn't been, just curious if you can point us to some cool examples.)

 

SaneIT
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Data Doctor
Re: Trendsetter or follower?
SaneIT   11/28/2012 7:26:34 AM
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Agreed, the niche suppliers are going to be on very shaky ground.  I know someone who has done business with WalMart in the past, it's been tough to get on the shelves in the first place for a long time.  I can only see that getting more difficult when they are looking at trending products more closely.

Andrea Scarso
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Prospector
Faceted search
Andrea Scarso   11/27/2012 6:05:56 PM
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Faceted search meets social big data.

Interesting idea. Not new, but never executed at Wal-Mart scale.

Pierre DeBois
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Re: Trendsetter or follower?
Pierre DeBois   11/27/2012 1:03:48 PM
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I also think small businesses that have managed to gain shelf space at WalMart will have a potentially shorter window of opportunity to prove themselves in sales.  I can see some losing shelfspace because Wal Mart determined that the vendor's product did not meet sales targets.  I am not fully familiar with the process, but that's my first immediate thought. I am open to other thoughts on this.

SaneIT
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Data Doctor
Re: Trendsetter or follower?
SaneIT   11/27/2012 8:48:13 AM
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@Callmebob, agreed, although WalMart has been better at collecting data for a long time this new platform seems to be turning them toward competing more closely with small specialty shops that stock items becasue customers asked for them or it's what the operator is "into".  This lets WalMart be as flexible as the smaller shops which was one of their last saving graces.  

BethSchultz
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Re: Trendsetter or follower?
BethSchultz   11/26/2012 3:33:47 PM
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@callmebob--I do admit the word "monopolistic" comes to mind sometimes when I hear of some of the advanced big-data analytics work retailers and others are doing. 

Callmebob
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Master Analyst
Re: Trendsetter or follower?
Callmebob   11/26/2012 3:28:28 PM
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@Beth - Absolutely. But with it, the platform makes the competitive hill against WalMart even steeper.

BethSchultz
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Re: Trendsetter or follower?
BethSchultz   11/26/2012 2:28:25 PM
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@callmebob, true. But wouldn't you say that even without the Social Genome Platform Wal-Mart already dominates the small fry retailer on data analytics anyways?

Callmebob
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Master Analyst
Trendsetter or follower?
Callmebob   11/26/2012 2:22:44 PM
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If small retailers didn't have enough to worry about, WalMart Labs with their Social Genome Platform can dominate them on the big data analysis front. Their dashboard gives their business managers the ability to whittle down their merchandising assumptions and increase their home run capabilities. The small fry retailer won't have that luxury and find it easier to be a trend follower if they can identify it. And following WalMart does not constitute a winning business formula.

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