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Retailers’ Adoption Of BI Is Slow, At Best

by Lyndsay Wise, President, WiseAnalyticsFriday, November 28, 2008

Retail business intelligence solution provider Manthan Systems released the results of their retail intelligence survey.  The survey collected responses from 192 UK based retailers to identify trends within the retail industry and to see how far along retailers are in regards to adoption and general use of BI.

Survey highlights include:

  • 37% of respondents do not have access to any business reporting system
  • 39% of respondents said that they were unconvinced of their ability to identify problem areas within their business
  • 55% say that they are unable to properly drill through data to identify potential problem areas
  • Out of the larger retailers interviewed (those with more than 5,000 employees), 17.6% acknowledge that they do not have access to a business intelligence solution
  • For respondents with BI implemented, only 53% stated they can access reports when required

The retail industry has always been a laggard within the BI industry in terms of adoption patterns.  Aside from larger retailers and e-tailers such as Wal-Mart or Amazon, many companies are still misinformed about the benefits BI offers.  Even though the 91% of the retail respondents believe that reacting quickly to industry trends is critical during an economic downturn and 87% state that having up-to-date business information is vital, the fact remains that putting these systems into practice are not always easy for retailers.  Aside from a focus on supply chain, sales, etc. many of these companies don’t understand how to integrate BI into their already complicated set of solutions that integrate product, customer, supplier, etc. information together.

Even with the increasing use of ecommerce to drive sales, and with companies looking at web analytics to identify traffic and buying patterns, actual BI solutions are not commonplace in many retail organizations. With solutions such as Google Analytics accessible to organizations free of charge, organizations can get some of the insight required to target products and services to their customers better and to identify how consumers are using ecommerce Websites. 

Consequently, the use of Web analytics can give retailers a first access point to BI to identify and evaluate its benefit to the organization without allotting additional budgets to initiate a new project.  For retailers where ecommerce is not applicable, many simplified dashboarding or reporting tools exist that can be accessed as a trial to help get a feel for the benefits of business intelligence.



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