Retailer Business Intelligence Efforts Misaligned, New Study Finds

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Retailers confuse "what-if" analysis capabilities with true real-time BI - leading them to under-serve the front-line portions of their business, according to RSR's most recent benchmark report: "Improving Retailer Responsiveness with Real-time Business Intelligence." The report reveals enormous untapped potential in providing actionable information to store operators, logistics and merchandise managers. Newly codified business processes are the target of the most successful retailers.

Winning retailers clearly see the need to react more quickly to conditions as they happen

RSR's newest research study, "Improving Retailer Responsiveness with Real-time Business Intelligence," sponsored by Cisco, HP, and SAP, finds many retailers are confused about the business processes that could most benefit from an infusion of Real-time BI. For example, "what-if modeling capabilities", and space planning processes were deemed more important than improving the eCommerce experience and reacting to changing conditions in the store.

While RSR's benchmarks typically find ROI, cultural resistance to change, and tangled, difficult to change infrastructures the biggest internal issues retailers face, Real-time BI poses very different, more basic challenges. Now-ubiquitous persistent connections between headquarters and remote locations are rendered irrelevant because back-end systems do not process data in anything close to real-time.

"Winning retailers clearly see the need to react more quickly to conditions as they happen," said Brian Kilcourse, Managing Partner at RSR and co-author of the report. "Underperforming retailers are much more concerned about the ability of merchants to catch trends from the data."

The potential of real-time or near real-time business intelligence is enormous, but retailers have a long way to go in realizing that potential. They finally understand that process is important and are moving from a "whatever it takes" mode to something more engineered: process driven by actionable information. Further, closing the loop between operational systems and BI is important because the "lag time to action" is getting shorter all the time.    

RSR's new study, Improving Retailer Responsiveness with Real-time Business Intelligence explores the challenges and opportunities associated with closing the loop between operational business processes and central business intelligence capabilities.

To obtain a complimentary copy of the report, click here or:
http://www.retailsystemsresearch.com/_document/summary/708

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Paula Rosenblum

Brian Kilcourse
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