The problem with 'Big Data'

Big Data promises to pave the way to success for today's retail organizations, but there are big problems: technology is getting in the way.

While retailers are facing challenges in delivering the reporting functionality that business users need to enable data-driven decision-making, they are optimistic about Big Data's ability to provide breakthroughs in analysis capabilities across a number of retail processes, according to the 2014 Big Data in Retail Study by 1010data.

Nearly all surveyed executives (96 percent) agreed that Big Data initiatives are important in helping retailers stay competitive. They said Big Data insights are most beneficial for merchandising (53 percent) and marketing (48 percent), followed by store operations (42 percent) and e-commerce (42 percent).

And while executives are starting to acknowledge the competitive advantages of Big Data, nearly half of the respondents (46 percent) agreed that retailers require a better understanding of how Big Data can advance their business. In addition, all but a few (7 percent) respondents indicated that they perceive retailers as holding out on using Big Data thanks to high cost or complexity of implementing Big Data and a current state of unpreparedness to handle basic business reporting.

Approximately 30 percent cited a need for Big Data solutions that are more intuitive to business users, 21 percent want solutions that better address the needs of retailers and 17 percent said they need more time to determine the value of Big Data.

Executives further elaborated on retailers' biggest obstacles to getting the reporting and analytics tools which retailers need to make better data driven business decisions, with 41 percent admitting that different users and departments have different ways of measuring the business.   
 
Survey respondents said they can't analyze data at a low enough level of detail (e.g., store-SKU day-transaction-customer). Many (34 percent) had difficulty accessing and integrating the enterprise or third-party data users need to analyze. Sixteen percent said queries take too long to run, 15 percent said reporting tools can't handle the level of sophistication of retailers' business questions and 13 percent blamed a lack of service and long queues in reporting requests to IT.

Despite the retail industry's perception of obstacles, executives believe that Big Data can have a positive impact on business processes. And while things such as targeted offers and promotions are perceived to gain the most from Big Data, demand forecasting and supply chain modeling, customer-centric marketing, loyalty program management, workforce management, store design and loss prevention followed in order.
 
For more:
-See this 1010data report

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