The Data Chief | Episode 67

Bill Schmarzo on Why Companies Need to Pivot from Data-Driven to Value-Driven

Bill Schmarzo

Customer Data Innovation

Dell Technologies

Current EpisodeEP67: Bill Schmarzo on Why Companies Need to Pivot from Data-Driven to Value-Driven

Episode Overview

What is the true value of data? Whether you’ve been collecting data for years or are just getting started, the reality is that data holds zero value on its own. In fact, it’s a huge cost. In this episode of The Data Chief, industry veteran Bill Schmarzo, currently in Customer Data Innovation at Dell Technologies, shares why modern data leaders must let go of the notion of being data-driven and focus on business outcomes. He also discusses how having more data isn’t always the right move, especially when considering larger business goals.

Key Moments: 

  • Demonstrating data’s value in an uncertain economy (7:36)
  • Defining data KPIs (16:54)
  • The importance of data-driven decision-making (22:43)
  • Moving from “data-driven” to “value-driven” (33:24)
  • Modern data culture (42:08)


Key Quotes

Data by itself has zero value. In fact, it’s a cost…That’s why I get so excited about the economic conversation, because…the value of an economic asset is determined by how you use that asset to create more value.

The CDOs have struggled because they've got data. They're realizing that the possession of data is not a value. Selling data is not the answer. They're realizing I need to be able to apply this.

The problem is that we spent too much time talking about becoming data-driven. Data-driven is not important. Value-driven is what’s important. We should focus on value.

This is probably a challenge for CDO is that when we come to the business and talk about data, the business falls over and falls asleep. They don't care about data. They don't care about the three V’s of big data. What they care about are the four M's of big data: Make. Me. More. Money.




Bill Schmarzo has extensive hands-on experience in the areas of big data, data science, design thinking, data monetization, and data economics. Bill is currently part of Dell Technology’s core data management leadership team, where he is responsible for spearheading customer co-creation engagement to identify and prioritize the customers' key data management, data science, and data monetization requirements.

Bill also has served as CTO at Dell EMC where he formulated the company’s Big Data Practice strategy, identified target markets, developed solution frameworks, and led Analytics client engagements with his Vision Workshop, a methodology that links an organization’s strategic business initiatives with supporting data and analytics.

Bill is the author of four books including:

“Big Data: Understanding How Data Powers Big Business”
“Big Data MBA: Driving Business Strategies with Data Science”
“The Art of Thinking Like a Data Scientist”
“The Economics of Data, Analytics, and Digital Transformation”

Bill is currently an Adjunct Professor at Menlo College, an Honorary Professor at the University of Ireland – Galway, and an Executive Fellow at the University of San Francisco, School of Management. He holds a Master of Business Administration from University of Iowa and a Bachelor of Science degree in Mathematics, Computer Science and Business Administration fromvCoe College.

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