I just read a great article in the April addition of CIO magazine. The article is entitled BI: Retailers No. 1 priority. BI stands for Business Intelligence and BI is all about turning data into actionable information. The article lists the top reason that retailers can value from BI systems as being:
1. React quickly to customer demands
2. Predicting future capabilities
3. Improve customer loyalty and retention
4. Improving customer satisfaction
The article points to a statistic from the University of Michigan indicating a drop in retailer satisfaction. The article states Consumers have quickly learned to utilize all of the tools at their disposal to educate themselves about products and prices, they have done this online.
My buddy Barry Nowak at Metrics Reporting used BI to make Gordon Food Service become #1 in its field and he can help your organization with your BI initiatives. But don't get me wrong, I strongly agree that there is a strong and undeniable value proposition behind implementing BI within any organization. I would probably get kicked off the board of the West Michigan Business Intelligence Committee if I did not. BI is and an essential tool for the execution of OODA Loops within your organization.
I am just not sure if it should be number one priority.I mean which comes first the chicken or the egg. I guess BI could be the number one objective if include in the initiative is an analysis of your marketing strategy, and the collect of the proper data. BI is the analysis of data inputs. So perhaps the number 1 priority should be ensuring that you are collecting all the appropriate data that you need to make a decision. Many companies are to not tracking web statistics with tools that Google Analytics or Web Trends to monitor what pages customers are looking at and where they are coming from and then where the exit to. Many customers do not have a social network to collect customer feedback. This data is invaluable for a BI initiative and could paint a completely different picture if retailers only analyze their POS data.
BI is great for gaining an understanding of the customer buying cycle. Just make sure you are all the right enablers in place and that BI is a strategic business initiative and not a technology initiative.