5 Biggest BI Challenges Retail Organizations are Facing Today
Digital disruption and empowered consumers are keeping the retail industry on its toes. And while the industry leaders are moving at lightning speed, utilizing every opportunity that is unfolding with technology – data driven insights, mirrors, beacons, even drones; most retailers have only now begun to realize the threat and opportunities technology presents. And for some retailers, including some big names of the 20th century, it’s too late now.
Chew on this. While the rate of shopping has not decreased, yet the retail industry is witnessing a continuous slump in profits since 2011. So, what is making it difficult to tag and reach these customers at the right time and right place? Clearly, one of the reasons is lack of understanding of the new, tech savvy customer. And one key requirements for understanding the customer is by getting data on her.
Interestingly, data has always been the strongpoint of retail and the inflow is abundant. But the industry at large has failed to recognize the potential of data and channelize it in the right direction. It is only a prominent few retailers who have been able to use the power of data to make impressive strides in business and growth. Most are either struggling or have failed miserably in their attempts to create a seamless experience both for their customers and in their operations.
Here’s a glance at the major data and BI challenges that retail is facing:
Unlocking the Power of Data
Retail has always been inundated with data, there’s no need for them to dig mines or setup data plants. However, retail hasn’t been able to squeeze anything pragmatic out of it. In most cases the simple ETL (Extract, Transform, Load) process is misapplied, while in certain scenarios data is left all by itself, when it should be synchronized with analytics to display practical insights. Getting the technology to manage data is not enough. Well thought out strategy and execution plan are required to gain valuable insight.
Managing Data Silos
Online and physical stores, of many retail companies, work in silos. Hence, the disconnect is strongly felt when an online customer tries to shop from a brick and mortar outlet or vice-versa. Not just customers but the different divisions such as supply chain, marketing, sales including the management sense the same detachment. Many companies struggle to bridge this gap and build a cohesive data architecture that is able to pull data from the entire organization on to a central system.
Managing Redundant Reports
Absence of clear data strategy leads to generation of reports that lack actionable insights. Soon these reports become more of a chore, adding no real value to the decision making process. It’s no surprise that reporting tools are often part of the trimming list for their inability to produce the right information at the right time.
Lack of User-friendly Tools
Retailers are investing immensely in BI. However, their inclination has always been towards outdoing their competitors’ move, adopting complex tools in the process. Most of the time, a task that can easily be solved by a simple mechanism is replaced by a difficult setup, that consumes time but is eventually abandoned because of its complexity. Often times, the tools present a lot of data metrics, most of which add no real value to the decision-making process.
Replacing or Reinventing the BI system
Supplanting or refurbishing an existing BI system is an equally laborious and costly job. As mentioned above some of these tools are abandoned because they are too complicated; while the weak IT architecture of some organizations, prevents the implementation of an effective application. Hence, companies are often reluctant to get a new BI system or mend the existing one.
Implementing an easy-to-understand BI infrastructure that is able to break data silos within the organization and provide single version of actionable truth is the only practical choice for retailers. The fastest and safest way to data nirvana is by partnering with BI specialists who will analyze and tailor a BI solution that harmonizes all your data (both offline and online); aid your expansion plans and empower you with decision-making information.
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