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Retailers – we’re in full swing with the holiday season but have you stopped to consider that NRF’s Big Show is only a month away?  Yes, really…  On January 13 we will all once again converge on New York City for the annual ritual that is the Big Show.  This year in particular – I can’t wait!  Not only has NRF made the show a must-see and be-seen-at event with world renowned speakers and a full line up of engaging and educational topics, the exhibit hall will host the only place in the world to see every solution and tool available for retail under one roof. 

My goal this year is to see whether Big Data remains top of mind for retailers.  If so, which Retailers are using in-memory and business intelligence with Big Data and is it positively changing the business?  Is this still an IT conversation or has the Business jumped into the discussion?  What does it mean to the retail of today and more importantly, that of tomorrow?  As a solution principal for SAP, I often talk with my colleagues about how harnessing the power of Big Data is revolutionizing retail in real time.  Retailers are now able to ask the questions and forecast results with a single source of the truth never possible before.  So, is 2013 the year that Big Data in now common practice?

The Big Show is definitely the place to learn more.  This year there are plenty of don’t miss keynotes and education sessions that expand the conversation on Big Data.  Sunday hits the ground running with Coca-Cola headlining the opening keynote.  The session is sure to please by tackling a variety of today’s issues for retailers and suppliers including how to create meaningful innovation and consumer engagement that deliver results.   Following on Sunday afternoon is a don’t miss session on “Big Benefits with Big Data”.  I will round out the day attending the closing keynote entitled “What will it take to Thrive in a Global Arena?” My goal is to glean how global leaders are managing sales, customers, and product data seamlessly all while continuing to grow.

My plan for Monday and Tuesday is to come early and stay late.  These days are not only filled with more informative keynotes and speakers, but the Exhibit Hall opens.  Monday’s must see sessions are 2190, 2231, and 2032.  These sessions all tackle the Big Data question head-on.  Session 2190 focuses on driving growth with big data and customer analytics.  Session 2231 ties “Big Data to the Bottom Line and finally Session 2032 talks about retailers “Lost in a Sea of Turbulent Data”.  On Tuesday, Session 2184 addresses how retailers can turn big data into big insights to survive and thrive in today’s volatile environment. 

In between sessions and standing in line for Starbucks, you’ll find me on the Exhibit Hall floor.  The SAP booth will showcase a new concept this year with retailers hosting talks for other retailers in the SAP Theater.  Retailers such as Chico’s, REI, Under Armour, and Crocs will all share their experiences using, implementing, and co-innovating with SAP.  You’ll also find the latest in software demonstrations and get to meet one-on-one with experts to answer your questions or curiosity.

On Wednesday after the closing keynotes, I will finally begin to distill the wealth of information that I gained throughout the show.  I am confident that this is the year in which the big data hype turns to reality.  I can’t wait to find out next month and to hear the buzz about which retailers are leading the pack when it comes to Big Data.  Hope to see you there!

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