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Lyndsay Wise

Hi and welcome to my blog! I look forward to bringing you weekly posts about what is happening in the world of BI, CDI and marketing performance management.

About the author >

Lyndsay is the President and Founder of WiseAnalytics, an independent analyst firm specializing in business intelligence, master data management and unstructured data. For more than seven years, she has assisted clients in business systems analysis, software selection and implementation of enterprise applications. Lyndsay conducts regular research studies, consults, writes articles and speaks about improving the value of business intelligence within organizations. She can be reached at lwise@wiseanalytics.com.

Editor's Note: More articles and resources are available in Lyndsay's BeyeNETWORK Expert Channel. Be sure to visit today!

Every now and then I speak with vendors' customers to get a different take on solutions being used and what companies really think about products that are marketed with only a positive spin. I also enjoy hearing about the business benefits and value mid-market companies are achieving through their use of BI. As a bonus, I hope to get some insight into any snags or negatives about the product or overall BI project - which customers generally like to share once they start talking.  The negatives are a great tool that can be used to provide insights to other companies evaluating solutions in the market place and help them learn from other companies BI initiatives.

In this case, my "victim" of sorts, was Anna's Linens, a retailer focusing on home fashions with over 258 stores across the United States.  They are a mid-market company and have been using SAP Business Objects Edge BI for a couple of  years. And to my disappointment (even though I'm glad that they are getting a lot of benefit out of their solution), their Crystal use has been nothing but positive - very positive actually!

While transitioning from being a regional to a national retailer, Anna's Linens needed to consolidate information across various locations. Their goal was to find a way to look at marketing, store operations, and merchandising data holistically.  Additional considerations included the viability and current install base of a vendor, product ease of use, and the ability to deploy to multiple users within the organization. Once choosing SAP Business Objects Edge BI, the implementation was seamless and several reports were developed with the goal of creating a single view of operational data and moving away from data silos that existed within the organization (specifically in relation to marketing, store operations, and merchandising) . Anna's Linens was able to extract data and create analytics that provided additional insights into sales, customer conversions, and the effectiveness of advertising specific products.  In addition, due to the new visibility and centralized view of overall performance, Anna's Linens implemented traffic counters to identify foot traffic and its relation to customer transactions, units per transaction, marketing performance, etc.

Overall, Anna's Linens provides a great example to other mid-market retailers of the advantage of implementing BI. For some reason, retailers have generally remained behind the curve on BI adoption but are slowly beginning to understand the immense value of data. But beyond simply implementing BI, retailers need to understand how data visibility can be tied to continual improvement and how to relate sales data to actual performance.  In Anna's Linens' case, they have taken BI to the next level by enabling each department in the company to develop their own metrics - for instance, the measurement of customer service levels - and by creating a cross-functional steering committee to help build and manage BI reports and processes within the organization.

For a mid-sized retailer, Anna's Linens provides a good example of how other companies can take advantage of analytics within their organizations to gain broader insights into performance and to create a cohesive view of operations and customer focused data.

Posted February 5, 2010 9:19 AM
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