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Need of Hour: Building Data Analytics Capability

By Adam Saper, CFO, Eataly

Adam Saper, CFO, Eataly

What is prevailing scenario in retail analytics arena? How ongoing disruptions are impacting the space?

Data collection has become easier at all levels of organizations. For retailers, it would be prudent to collect right data from the outset instead of engaging resources in data cleaning to sort out bad data. Retailers’ job is not over till they analyze the data and they must hire and build expertise for analyzing the data. Under any circumstances, retailers should not outsource data analytics process as it eventually finds place in the group of core functions. Retailers should use analytics to make informed decisions for creating better experience for their customers.

"Under any circumstances, retailers should not outsource data analytics process"

How do you integrate heterogeneous data that is received in forms like warehousing data, supply chain data, and back end process data?

Plugging in data from myriad systems and aggregating it centrally are difficult but important tasks. Retailers strive to gain 360 degree view of customers and in the same pursuit they apply comprehensive measures for harnessing data from offline world and online realm. They run loyalty programs, discount schemes to connect with customers and build a communication channel between them and other parts of their organization. The corollary of these measures is flood of customer data at ecommerce site, POS systems and other points of interactions with the customers. We believe in running the technology in the background and measuring the impact of deploying various technologies and resources to create a great in store experience for the customers.

How do you leverage technologies like big data and data analytics?

Primarily, retailers are less dependent on big data. Nowadays, companies like Google offer cloud-based tools that simplify the process of data collection in customized manner. In big data, huge data dumps have become cheaper for collecting and storing data for subsequent processing. These tools and technologies have also enabled small enterprises to harness the power of data at moderate cost. Big data empowers users to shoot unlimited questions for all possible scenarios and lends ability to gain insights from larger data sets at a negligible cost. This was not possible before the dawn of big data. Big data helps us to utilize sensor data, which originates from stores, in understanding staff cost, individual product performance, and other key metrics.

What are the technological trends that invoke your interest?

I am excited about how to use technologies for increasing efficiency of our business. Though our business is more about analog experience, technologies hold immense potential to streamline the management of our business. These technologies will help us in building self check out platform. Of late, payment arena has been witnessing tectonic changes and it will be beneficial for retailers and one-stop shops. Again, automating supply inventory management is another enthralling idea for retailer fraternity. For example, image scanner and image recognition technology can help in identifying inventory products instead of undertaking manual efforts.

What are the challenges that you are facing in this arena? How do you overcome these challenges?

We are living in the world where pattern to shop is undergoing a tremendous change. People shop online, but at the same time it can be an experience for the retailers. The ease of shopping and other available services pose a challenge for retailers in terms of execution. Due to numerous options available for the customers, retailers cannot take them granted.

What are the measures exercised by you to successfully run a business with the advent of cloud computing, analytics mobility in commerce and rising consumer expectations?

Internet has been a driving force behind continual technological transformation. We like to use technology to make us efficient. Inventory control, connection with loyalty programs, digital on-boarding, and mobile scheduling have different set of considerations and we are harnessing technology to address them.

Q: How the role of CEO/Co-Founder has evolved over the years?

The role of CEOs and Co-Founders are different across industries. CEO should guide their organization for the journey further. Setting priorities correctly is prime tenet that CEO should follow in the course of their journey. The pace of sectorial transformation may have implications over the role of CEOs, but according to me, this is not the everyday phenomenon.

What is your advice to CIOs and CEOs?

CIOs and CEOs need to have core competency and understanding of technology. You can't outsource everything. You need to have control of your own data. Every company needs to own their data and analyze it.

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