More Retailers Using Biz Intel, But Better Data Still Needed: Study

BOSTON - More than half of all retailers are using business intelligence technology for merchandising, planning, and replenishment - and two thirds of these retailers have corporate executives actively involved in using the systems, according to a new study from technology consulting firm Aberdeen Group.

However, the study, "Business Intelligence in Retail Merchandising: Harnessing Advanced Data Management to Address Today's Merchandising Challenges," also concluded that many retailers still fear their efforts suffer from the "garbage in, garbage out" syndrome.
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The need for better operational efficiency and improved customer response time are driving retailers to budget new business intelligence programs, or upgrade existing internal data management processes, said the study. Improved store performance is also a critical factor on the minds of retailers as they evaluate new business intelligence processes.

"Retailers explicitly stated that there is great potential to using business intelligence in merchandising," said Greg Belkin, retail research analyst at Aberdeen and report author. "However, the report uncovers that less than half of all retailers surveyed believe their data is not reliable enough for analysis. The big challenge for retailers is getting their internal data management processes in order."

There are still numerous areas of opportunity that retailers have yet to address, according to the study. Only 11 percent of retailers are looking at business intelligence data on a near real-time basis; and 32 percent of retailers still use spreadsheets to manage their business intelligence data, despite recognizing that they are extremely inefficient.
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