Oracle report shows retailers are accumulating data at unprecedented rates

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Oracle has announced the results of its "From Overload to Impact: An Industry Scorecard on Big Data Business Challenges" report, which surveyed 333 C-level executives from US and Canadian executives from retail and 10 other industries to determine the pain points they face regarding managing the deluge of data coming into their organisations and how well they are using that information to drive profit and growth.

The data deluge is here: Ninety per cent of C-level retail executives say their organisation is collecting and managing more business information today than two years ago, by an average of 98 per cent. Retail executives note they see the biggest data growth in customer information (43 per cent), operations (33 per cent) and sales and marketing (30 per cent).
Room for improvement: Retail executives say their companies are not prepared to handle the increasing amount of data. Thirty per cent of retail executives give their organization a "D" or "F" in preparedness to manage the data deluge and 93 per cent believe their organization is losing revenue opportunities – as much as 10 per cent of revenue per year, and, on average, $50.5 million per year (figure based on the average revenue of organizations surveyed) – by not being able to fully leverage the information they collect. Only 3 per cent of executives gave their organisation an "A" in preparedness.
At stake is the cross-channel customer experience: Forty per cent of retail executives say that the biggest challenge they face in regards to leveraging business information is their ability to improve the cross-channel customer experience. Another 30 per cent say that optimising the supply chain is among their top challenges, followed by creating personalized offers, tracking and optimising inventory, streamlining merchandising and pricing and managing in-store operations (all 27 per cent).
Managers do not have or cannot get to the timely info they need: Retail executives say they are most frustrated with their ability to gather and distribute data in a timely manner. Specifically, 53 per cent cannot give their business managers access to pertinent information, 50 per cent note they do not have the right systems in place to gather the information they need and 33 per cent feel they are using systems that are not designed to meet the unique needs of their industry.
A path forward: Ninety-seven per cent of retail and other industry executives note their organisation must improve information optimisation over the next two years. Top priorities include acquiring tools to collect more accurate information (40 per cent), training employees to better make sense of information (40 per cent) and improving the ability to translate information into actionable insight (37 per cent).
Vertical application leap: Eighty-three per cent of retailers use industry-specific applications. Among the most critical, say retailers, are better store and point of sale (POS) systems and a more consistent view of merchandise and inventory throughout the supply chain and in stores (43 per cent).
Mobile access is critical: Forty per cent of retailers say that providing store associates with mobile access to customer, product, inventory and other information is critical to their business, along with providing the entire organisation with a more consistent and complete view of the customer (40 per cent).
To access the full report – which delves extensively into how prepared organisations within each industry are for the data deluge and the resources they need to enhance their ability to leverage incoming data. .
"For retailers to deliver the cross-channel experience customers are demanding, they must not only manage the growing deluge of operational and customer data, but use it to gain actionable insight and equip employees to effectively use that insight immediately," said Mike Webster, senior vice president and general manager, Oracle Retail. "Oracle is helping retailers to turn their data into an asset that connects interactions and optimises operations to drive profitability and support a truly personalized customer experience."

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