Category Archives: E-commerce

How Do Companies Learn Your Secrets

Description: Andrew Pole had just started working as a statistician for Target in 2002, when two colleagues from the marketing department stopped by his desk to ask an odd question: “If we wanted to figure out if a customer is pregnant, even if she didn’t want us to know, can you do that? ”

Source: NYTimes.com

Date: Feb 6, 2012

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The desire to collect information on customers is not new for Target or any other large retailer, of course. For decades, Target has collected vast amounts of data on every person who regularly walks into one of its stores. Whenever possible, Target assigns each shopper a unique code — known internally as the Guest ID number — that keeps tabs on everything they buy. “If you use a credit card or a coupon, or fill out a survey, or mail in a refund, or call the customer help line, or open an e-mail we’ve sent you or visit our Web site, we’ll record it and link it to your Guest ID,” Pole said. “We want to know everything we can.”

Also linked to your Guest ID is demographic information like your age, whether you are married and have kids, which part of town you live in, how long it takes you to drive to the store, your estimated salary, whether you’ve moved recently, what credit cards you carry in your wallet and what Web sites you visit. Target can buy data about your ethnicity, job history, the magazines you read, if you’ve ever declared bankruptcy or got divorced, the year you bought (or lost) your house, where you went to college, what kinds of topics you talk about online, whether you prefer certain brands of coffee, paper towels, cereal or applesauce, your political leanings, reading habits, charitable giving and the number of cars you own.    READ REST OF STORY

 Questions for discussion:

1. Reflecting on this article, does ther ever come a time when you feel there is too much data out in the public sphere about you?  Why or Why not?

2.  What are some applications of this BIG DATA technology that you would find exciting as a manager of a business?

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Even the Masters of the Universe Are Threatened As Goldman Embraces Automation

Description:   At its height back in 2000, the U.S. cash equities trading desk at Goldman Sachs’s New York headquarters employed 600 traders, buying and selling stock on the orders of the investment bank’s large clients. Today there are just two equity traders left.

Source: MIT Technology Review

Date: Feb 7, 2017

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The experience of its New York traders is just one early example of a transformation of Goldman Sachs, and increasingly other Wall Street firms, that began with the rise in computerized trading, but has accelerated over the past five years, moving into more fields of finance that humans once dominated. Chavez, who will become chief financial officer in April, says areas of trading like currencies and even parts of business lines like investment banking are moving in the same automated direction that equities have already traveled.

Today, nearly 45 percent of trading is done electronically, according to Coalition, a U.K. firm that tracks the industry. In addition to back-office clerical workers, on Wall Street machines are replacing a lot of highly paid people, too.   READ REST OF STORY

 Questions for discussion:

1. Do you feel that that Computerized trading and AI will make the financial industry almost a employee less industry ?  Why or Why not?

2.  Do you feel that Government industries are susceptible to this sort of computerization and AI to reduces Public service employees in Canada by a significant amount?   explain

Music World Bands Together Against YouTube, Seeking Change to Law

Description:     A few years ago, the biggest enemy of the music industry was Pandora Media. Then Spotify became the target.  Now it is YouTube’s turn.

Source: Forbes.com

Date: May 31. 2016

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In recent months, the music world has been united to a rare degree in a public fight against YouTube, accusing the service of paying too little in royalties and asking for changes to the law that allows the company to operate the way it does. The battle highlights the need to capture every dollar as listeners’ habits turn to streaming, as well as the industry’s complicated relationship with YouTube.

The dispute has played out in a drumbeat of industry reports, blog posts and opinion columns. Stars like Katy Perry, Pharrell Williams and Billy Joel have signed letters asking for changes to copyright laws. Irving Azoff, the manager of artists like the Eagles and Christina Aguilera, criticized YouTube in an interview and in a fiery speech around the Grammy Awards                read rest of story

Questions:
1.  Do you think changes are needed in the in the copyright laws for the recording  industry?

2.  Do you feel these artists will will be successful in their strategy to capture every dollar from listeners of the digital product?  Why or Why not?

Walmart Looks to Drones to Speed Distribution

Description:  Walmart, the country’s largest retailer, is testing the use of flying drones to handle inventory at its large warehouses, which supply the thousands of Walmart stores throughout the nation.

Source: NYTimes.com

Date: June 2. 2016

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While a Walmart employee may handle the drone, the technology could “potentially” mean fewer workers would be needed to take stock or replace missing items, Lorenzo Lopez, a spokesman, said. Mr. Lopez emphasized that those workers could be deployed in other areas of the warehouse.

The test is occurring as Walmart is under intense pressure to grow amid an onslaught of low-cost competition, particularly from Amazon, the online shopping giant. Walmart has committed to spending $2.7 billion on labor, technology and other investments, including improving its website and e-commerce business. Last quarter, Walmart beat expectations with $115.9 billion in revenue, but even Doug McMillon, its president and chief executive, acknowledged that the 7 percent growth of Walmart’s e-commerce business was “too slow.”   read rest of story

Questions:
1.  Is Walmart on the cutting edge of logistics management with the use of drones?  Why or Why not??

2.  Why would Walmart want to implement this new strategy?

5 Tech Trends That Will Change How We Work Forever

Description: To you and me, the transformation seems gradual. Your business acquires more sophisticated tools, walls begin to disappear and fax machines vanish.

Source: Inc.com

Date:May 27. 2016
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First, your workforce trades in their pressed suits for business casual khakis, then jeans and, now, occasionally even shorts. On any given workday, only about two-thirds of your team is working in the office. The change is steady, like most sustainable paradigm shifts.

But imagine for a moment plucking your grandfather out of his mid-century office and dropping him in the middle of an ultramodern workspace. Would he even know he was at work? Would he recognize anything? Or would he spend hours searching for his Rolodex, typewriter and carbon paper?  read rest of story

Questions:
1.  What do you feel are the two most important trends?  Why?

2.  How do theses trends relate to the income statement paradigm that was discussed in class?

Do Smart Cities Pose Data Dangers? When Governments See Value In Data

Description: The Chicago Tribune published a great editorial this week about the rise of so-called “smart cities” and the promise and pitfalls of governments assembling ever-more detailed data spanning every moment of their citizens’ lives.

Source: Forbes.com

Date:May 14. 2016
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As cities increasingly deploy automated license plate scanners and facial recognition systems tied to their police surveillance camera networks, they are amassing unprecedented documentaries of their citizens, mapping each individual person’s entire daily life from the moment they walk out their door in the morning until the moment they return that evening. Such data has breathtaking commercial value and companies across a myriad of industries would be willing to pay very large sums of money for access. Could a cash-strapped smart city decide that selling subscriptions to its surveillance data for marketing purposes would be a good way to generate revenue?   READ REST OF STORY

Questions:
1.  Who should have access to the data that smart cities are collecting?

2.  Should cities be able to sell the data that they collect for a profit? If yes, who should get the money?

Can Companies Can Learn Your Secrets?

Description:  “If we wanted to figure out if a customer is pregnant, even if she didn’t want us to know, can you do that? ”

Source: nytimes.com

Date: Feb 16, 2012

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As the marketers explained to Pole — and as Pole later explained to me, back when we were still speaking and before Target told him to stop — new parents are a retailer’s holy grail. Most shoppers don’t buy everything they need at one store. Instead, they buy groceries at the grocery store and toys at the toy store, and they visit Target only when they need certain items they associate with Target — cleaning supplies, say, or new socks or a six-month supply of toilet paper. But Target sells everything from milk to stuffed animals to lawn furniture to electronics, so one of the company’s primary goals is convincing customers that the only store they need is Target. But it’s a tough message to get across, even with the most ingenious ad campaigns, because once consumers’ shopping habits are ingrained, it’s incredibly difficult to change them.  READ REST OF STORY 

 Questions for discussion:

  1.  Are there any ethical dilemmas to using big data in consumer services?
  2. What other commercial applications can you see for organizations in using big data?
  3. What skill would you need to be able to use Big Data in an organization that you work for