Retailers Show Signs of Intelligence

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Seventy-six percent of retailers use or have active, budgeted plans to use business intelligence in some form or another within their organizations within the next couple of years, according to a new report from Aberdeen Group. Yet only 21 percent of retailers indicated that they have had enterprise wide business intelligence systems for at least two years.

The report also finds that there still areas of opportunity many retailers have yet to address. For example, 11% of retailers are looking at business intelligence data on a near-real time basis. In addition, 42% of retailers use spreadsheets to manage their business- intelligence data, despite recognizing that such a practice is inefficient. Other internal data management challenges include decentralized data scattered through out the organization, lack of customer-specific information to generate valid results, and business processes not lending themselves to making use of information.

The report, “Business Cohesion in Retail: Bringing Cohesion to a Fragmented Enterprise,” states that average retailers have largely missed opportunities to make better decisions by viewing data on an ad-hoc basis, rather than at regularly scheduled intervals.

“Smaller companies have as many as 10 different data marts, while firms over $1 billion will have as many as 50 data marts within the company,” adds Leslie Ament, Aberdeen channel director for the customer intelligence practice. Large retailers tend to be near the upper end of this range due to the array of different suppliers.

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