Sears Sells Big Data Solutions on a MetaScale
It’s been argued, based on actions and financial results, that Edward Lampert and Sears Holdings really aren’t interested in being in retailing — at least not the bricks and mortar kind. So what does Sears Holdings want to be when it grows up? Amazon.com or some sort of technology company, of course.
Yesterday, Sears Holdings announced it had created a wholly owned subsidiary called MetaScale, which offers data management and analytics via the cloud. The solution, which was developed in-house, has been used for all of the company’s businesses including Kmart, Lands’ End and Sears.
"MetaScale is uniquely positioned to serve the needs of large-scale enterprise projects," said Keith Sherwell, CIO for Sears Holdings, in a statement. "From a competitive standpoint, MetaScale has identified a gap in the market to provide a superior managed-services model to other large-scale traditional enterprises that haven’t taken advantage of or investigated the potential of Apache Hadoop."
"They’re just trying to find ways to monetize any of their assets," Mary Ross Gilbert, an analyst at Imperial Capital, told Bloomberg News. "It certainly doesn’t appear that they’re generating profit from the retail operations themselves."
It’s because Sears Holdings is having such issues with its retail business that many wonder why it continues to branch off in areas that don’t appear to address its major areas of weakness.
Erik Gordon, a professor at the University of Michigan’s Ross School of Business, said MetaScale would be going up against some of the most sophisticated technology companies in the world with its new venture.
"Doesn’t Sears have enough problems competing with retailers?" Prof. Gordon told Bloomberg. "Now it wants to compete with some of the smartest people in the world."
Tom Aiello, a spokesperson for Sears Holdings, dismissed the criticism.
"In emerging areas such as this, you can create a competitive advantage … by having an edge on something like this," he told the Chicago Tribune. "We wouldn’t have started the venture unless we recognized there was (an opportunity) around big data."
- Sears Holdings Announces New Venture With Addition Of MetaScale – Sears Holdings/PRNewswire
- Sears looks to market its data management service – Chicago Tribune
- Sears Holdings forms new subsidiary to provide data services – Bloomberg News/Danbury News Times
Discussion Question: Do you think the development of MetaScale’s big data capabilities will help Sears Holdings various retail businesses? What is your reaction to offering the service to other companies? Will we see other retailers selling technology and/or other services a la Amazon and Sears?