Head of Catalog Strategy, Walmart
Ram Rampalli joined Walmart as part of the founding team of @WalmartLabs services and platform division. Ram started his journey within Walmart by building the industry’s first omni-channel product classification system that leverages the power of Machine Learning technologies to classify an item. A major portion of this work are described in this paper – Chimera: Large-Scale Classification using Machine Learning, Rules, and Crowdsourcing. Ram then built the foundational elements of Walmart’s product data catalog that scaled over 100x since its early days and supports multiple internal systems including the Walmart.com site, in-store kiosks, Walmart Pay and much more. Since 2014, Ram’s focus shifted to helping brand owners (CPGs, distributors, resellers etc.) understand the role and relevance of product data in today’s omni-channel retail ecosystem. As part of this, he built the Walmart’s content acquisition group from ground-up. The group is credited with a number of successful projects including the creation and management of the Content Service Provider (CSP) ecosystem. In 2018, Ram co-authored a proposal that lead to the implementation of the industry’s first GTIN registry – Verified by GS1. These days, Ram spends most of his time on Applied AI – helping the retail ecosystem to leverage the power of AI especially around data creation and syndication as well as working with industry consortia including the Global Standards Organization (GS1) and the Consumer Goods Forum (CGF). Prior to Walmart, Ram spent three years at eBay with the product data classification and catalog team where he pioneered the concept of applying crowdsourcing for deterministic problems.
Ram has applied for or been granted over a dozen patents in the field of product data classification and catalogs. He holds a graduate degree in Engineering Management from Santa Clara University and graduate degrees in Mathematics and Software Systems as well as an undergraduate degree in Civil Engineering from Birla Institute of Technology & Science, Pilani, India.