Last month we held our first in-person post-Covid Business Analytics Forum. We were thrilled to be back networking in the flesh, as were all our speakers and attendees. But in case you missed it on the day, we’ll be covering more of the insights from the event in depth on our blog. First up, Retail Performance Management as presented by Julian Shaw.
The unpredictable retail landscape
You don’t need us to tell you how unpredictable retail has been in the last two years. The UK eCommerce market is set to hit £89.5bn in terms of revenue this year, whilst the high-street continues to face pressing challenges. Retail sales volumes fell by 2.8% in July but were 4.6% higher in August than pre-pandemic levels.
And that’s before we get onto Black Friday. Recent data suggests that Black Friday 2021 will see sales drop by a fifth to £4.8bn. As we enter the big Q4 retail sales rush, many retailers are facing more questions than answers. Principal amongst them is whether Christmas 2021 is going to be boom or bust as consumers continue to face a post-Brexit squeeze. And will COVID-19 restrictions have an impact? What was their true effect in 2020?
As always, the detail is in the data. But when it comes to such an unprecedented period, the data can be packed with anomalies. So, how can you rely on this data? And can you forecast or budget accurately?
Retail Performance Management
DeeperThanBlue’s Retail Performance Management solution provides you with essential line of sight across your business. By connecting people, data, budgeting, performance and forecasting we help you to find your competitive advantage. And importantly all this can be done when working with anomalies in your data.
We also remove your reliance on excel. Yes, we know how important excel is for many of us, but truth be told it can only take you so far. We all know the issues it can cause in terms of version control, authorisation and workflows.
Our integrated solution brings your business and current ways of working together with reliable and actionable data and insights. We also work with you to identify your requirements and to create the most appropriate solution to slot into your business operations, enhancing current ways of working and legacy systems.
So, how does Retail Performance Management work?
Central to our Retail Performance Management solution is the powerful planning capabilities provided by IBM Planning Analytics, (powered by IBM TM1) to automate planning, budgeting and forecasting. Importantly, all your data can be accessed, while financial results and analysis will be integrated with your operational plans to ensure faster execution.
With IBM Planning Analytics at the core, we provide a bespoke solution that works with the needs of your business and in line with your goals combining the likes of the AI-fuelled business intelligence from IBM Cognos Analytics, predictive modelling from IBM SPSS Modeler, and machine learning from IBM Watson.
Making your data work for your business
During our Business Analytics Forum, Julian discussed the possibilities for connected planning whilst dealing with anomalies in the data.
Firstly, our RPM solution plugs into your existing ways of working. This means that a variety of data sources can be plugged in – from csv to SQL to database for example – and could include revenue, expenses and volume at a store or product level.
From here, the system set up requires calculation periods, store types, store hierarchies and product categories for example. Extraordinary values can then be accounted for – we’re talking weather, store events or a peak of online sales due to COVID. By smoothing this data this enables a projection to be created for future sales at a store or product level with an annual volume based on the run rate and ‘spread’ over the year. This then forms the basis of your forecast, with further scenario modelling available as well as top down vs bottom up comparisons and adjustments, and margin analysis and flexing.
All providing a reliable opportunity to forecast and manage your retail operation, whatever the anomalies your data throws your way.
The possibilities for Retail Performance Management
And this is just the beginning. The solution is fully flexible, meaning it can be scaled up or down to cater to your current, ongoing and future planning needs and business requirements, including but not limited to:
- Top down budgets
- Store level budgets
- eCommerce budgets
- Goods for resale
- Operational budgets
- Financial budgets
- Multi-currency cashflow forecast
- Performance Management
To learn more about Retail Performance Management, get in touch with us at DeeperThanBlue. And remember to look out for more insights from our latest BAF event as well as details of our upcoming events.