News Feature | February 3, 2017

Walmart Turns To Data Café Analytics Hub To Make Sense Of Data

Christine Kern

By Christine Kern, contributing writer


Data-driven initiatives could benefit other smaller retailers as well.

Walmart has announced its Data Café, an analytics hub housed at the company’s Bentonville, Arkansas headquarters. (Café stands for Collaborative Analytics Facilities for Enterprise).  This new system will make sense of all the data collected across its more than 20,000 stores , employing experts to leverage these insights to offer smarter stocking, pricing, merchandising and marketing solutions in “real-time” to better anticipate the needs of its 250 million weekly customers.

According to Forbes, Walmart is in the midst of the construction of the world’s largest private cloud that will enable it to process 2.5 petabytes of data every hour.  The new Data Café will be the key to making sense of all of this data to create solutions . At the Data Café, Walmart experts can model, manipulate, and visualize over 200 streams of internal and external data, including up to 40 petabytes of recent transactional data to provide solutions.

Walmart Senior Statistical Analyst Naveen Peddamail explained the importance of this analytical power. He told Forbes, “If you can’t get insights until you’ve analyzed your sales for a week or a month, then you’ve lost sales within that time. If you can cut down that time from two or three weeks to 20 or 30 minutes, then that saves a lot of money for Walmart and stopped us losing sales. That’s the real value of what we have built with the Data Café.”

And it’s not just Walmart who could benefit from this type of data-driven initiative; smaller grocers could also use these techniques to help them  jump in front of the world’s largest retailer. By analyzing their data in the same way, smaller grocery chains have an opportunity to beat Walmart at its own game by granting store-level access to these insights, allowing quicker decision-making; empowering all employees to solve their own problems without relying on analytics experts;  and prioritizing localized data, helping stores better serve customers at each specific location.

As Digital For All Now expressed, “Walmart are precursors I the field, but the retail sector as a whole is on the brink of a revolution thanks to big data, particularly where buying behavior, industry trend analysis, predictive modeling, and geographical segmentation are concerned. It’s crucial for retailers to seize these opportunities in order to stand out from the competition and offer a unique, innovative, customer experience.”

Peddamail told Fortune, “Our goal is always to get information to our business partners as fast as we can, so they can take action and cut down the turnaround time. It is proactive and reactive analytics.”

Using not only large deposits of transactional data but also information from 200 other sources including meteorological data, economic data, Nielson data, telecom data, social media data, gas prices, and local events databases, the power of the Data Café combines intelligence to predict outcomes and resolve issues to make retailers more efficient, more responsive, and more profitable.