AS Watson Conducts Big Data Hackathon to Highlight Value of Big Data in Retail Industry

Big Data

Photo by: Lumchrysaen via Wikimedia Commons


International health and beauty retail group AS Watson hosted its first-ever big data hackathon in Hong Kong in the hope that they can scout possible candidates to be their staff or a part of their team of data analytics consultants.

With over 14,000 stores worldwide, the company stressed that they are planning to double the headcount of their data scientists. However, the company’s top-level manager said that it is challenging to find that kind of talent in their country. 

Watson’s chief operating officer Malina Ngai Man-lin said, “ There is a notion that retailing is a more traditional industry that is not as exciting for data scientists to join.” The COO adds that because of this notion, the data analytics talent in the country is insufficient.  While there may be computer engineers, Ngai claims that most of them work in the airline sectors, banking, and telecommunications.

During the big data hackathon, Watson provided real operating data to about 200 applicants. They were tasked to provide a plan in order to capture the market opportunities, identify the behavior trends of customers, come up with promotion strategies and better pricing, and improve the product assortment in their shop.

Ngai highlights that they are hoping that the hackathon will draw analytics talent towards the retail sector and motivate their existing data analytics staff to be quicker in formulating business strategies.