The use of data within a retail environment is constantly changing, leading to the majority of companies describing themselves as “data rich, insight poor”. Unless retail businesses provide solutions that are designed to enable human decision making, provide the required levels of flexibility and ensure usability, meeting the needs of their customers will become harder than ever.
As data availability grows, the demand for more granular and frequent analysis is pressurizing business teams to centralize data, to create ‘one version of the truth’. This pressure has been common place over the last several years; however, the key difference now, is that users are demanding insight, not purely a data repository. The time required to analyse large volumes of data in order to identify opportunities and potential threats, is considered time wasted. This area of the business requires automation in order to free up valuable resources, so that they may utilize this time making business decisions and driving strategy. It is clear that business insight is starting to evolve.
This pressure and new levels of expectations are leading to three key challenges within the industry:
- I need flexible insight that identifies opportunity or areas of concern, as I don’t have time for data analysis
- Solutions need to be as mobile as I am
- I need specific answers delivered to me, based on my unique challenges
These pressures and key requirements are challenging organizations in relation to how they think about data, information and insight. Static reports have become too rigid within a flexible, constantly changing environment, and data deep-dives, far too time consuming. In some cases we have become a mobile workforce and it is no longer acceptable to only glean insight when sat behind a desk in the office. Social media has evolved our expectations that information needs to be delivered directly to us, as and when it changes, or when it potentially affects my life. We have started to expect the same within the business world.
So what is the answer?
It is clear that what is needed is pro-active analytics, designed specifically to meet the need of the individual user and the role that they fulfill, whether that be category manager, brand manager, business unit lead, or merchandising / marketing executive. That information needs to be readily available and in a format that makes the identification of opportunities or risk, simple to consume.Tags: business insight, data analysis, data analytics, data deep-dives, data insights, retail, retail insights