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Dashboard: Retailers Prove Adept at BI, But Not in Real Time

Although retailers already see the benefits of enterprisewide BI, they readily admit they have more work to do to improve data quality and step up their use of advanced analytics.

Eighty-nine percent of retailers are using business intelligence (BI) processes, including advanced analytics, on an enterprisewide basis, according to an Aberdeen Group report. And more than two thirds of retailers have said that senior executives all the way up to the CEO are actively using BI software. Yet the need for faster response to consumer demand is driving retailers to budget new BI investments or upgrade existing data management processes, according to "Business Intelligence in Retail: Bringing Cohesion to a Fragmented Enterprise." (For a free download of the report, click here.) While the retailers already see the benefits of enterprisewide BI, they readily admit they have more work to do to improve data quality and step up their use of advanced analytics.

"More than half the retailers surveyed believe their data is not reliable enough for analysis," says Greg Belkin, retail research analyst. "The big challenge for retailers is to get their internal data management processes in order."

The research, which was underwritten by Business Objects, Hyperion, Junction Solutions, Microsoft and MicroStrategy, highlights specific areas of opportunity for the retail industry. A mere 11 percent of retailers are looking at BI data on a near-real-time basis, for example. In addition, 42 percent of retailers use standalone spreadsheets to manage data, despite recognition that the practice is inefficient. Other challenges include data scattered throughout the organization, lack of customer-specific information to generate valid results and business processes that don't lend themselves to event analysis. --Penny Crosman