If someone asks you a question – hey you know what ?- retailers have terabytes of POS data stored in their BI systems –– are they getting better business insights from the volumes of data – stored and generated everyday.
Well one can dream on – of an ideal Retail Analytics Solution with interactive dashboards – prebuilt KPI’s across the retail supply chain – enhanced by nuggets of predictive intelligence .If one can dream further –one can add a planning /forecasting & simulation engine over the data – to aid the business managers to carry out their pet “what if “ scenario’s .
If One wakes up – one would realize that – while the end desired solution seems clear and perhaps be visualized also , there may exist distinct possibility of tools available to achieve the same – one has to has answer a series of questions prior before the end sate can be reached .it also requires multiple components of solutions to be brought together – to create a “sum of the parts is greater than the whole “Retail analytics solution.
One may ask questions like
1) What are the various KPI’s across the Retail Supply chain? – Where do we get the base data to build these KPI’s? Who from Retail organization would be interested in monitoring these KPI’s – which of these are prebuilt in SAP standard solutions and not whitespaces – that needs to be custom built. Finally with so many presentation layers available in the SAP BI space – there is also a question of selection of best suited presentaion layer to build the business friendly Analytics Retail dashboard/s.
2) If there exist multiple BI solutions (from different product vendors) in the landscape – pro’s and con’s of sun setting a few and going for Retail enterprise wide BI solution strategy.
3) What is the best fit planning and forecasting solution in retail context? Components of which- would give maximum benefit to a retailer.
4) Which of the Predictive analytics- like market basket analysis? Mark up/down optimization, price & promotion modeling, store clustering & price zone definition etc create maximum impact? What are the right kind of tools to build these models? Which statistical techniques are to be used and finally how do we integrate this with core BI solution – to create an actionable Business impact.
Well there are more such questions but you get the drift ……
Let us explore each of these EPM components as applied to retail industry context in this series of blogs ….