Vertex Simplifies Extracting Point-of-Sale Data from Numerous Retailers to Measure Sales Metrics
Problem and Background
Point-of-Sale (POS) data from retailers provides suppliers with rich, detailed information that unlocks insights on sales performance. When brand managers combine point-of-sale information with inventory and retail-execution data, they can measure the sales performance of a product or category – and compare it against the competition. Having this kind of analytical intelligence allows suppliers to continually improve the factors affecting displays, sizes, geography, stores, brands and more.
But, making sense of all this data requires the right tools to pull information from numerous retailer platforms. Accessing this goldmine is a time-consuming challenge that many suppliers have struggled with for years.
Our customer, a Fortune 50 CPG company with over 80 different categories, had been spending significant time and effort extracting data from its top retailers’ POS platforms. Decision makers went through the labor-intensive process of downloading subsets of data into Excel and resorting to macros to do the heavy lifting. This is where Vertex stepped in.
Vertex created a solution that pulled data from all retailer platforms and coalesced this information into one single source of truth. This flexible, dynamic reporting tool could be scaled across all their retailers in various geographic regions. Of further importance to our customer was the ability for the platform to minimize users’ dependence on IT. It needed to be a self-service solution that empowered users to extract data and view their results. Vertex delivered a solution that met or exceeded all our client’s criteria.
Our solution consisted of three components:
- Data Warehouse: We selected HP Vertica as the data warehouse tool. It provides a columnar database (as opposed to row based), which allows for greater data compression. Its scale-out architecture can be used to store and analyze large data sets.
- Data Engineering: Three different data sets – daily, weekly, and monthly – could be aggregated as needed with speed of access. We created a presentation model between the database and OBIEE to create multiple “universes” and provide groupings across relevant dimensions. The formulas for certain key re-used KPIs were pre-defined to provide speed and ease of execution.
- Data Visualization: After an extensive analysis of various enterprise platforms, we chose OBIEE (Oracle Business Intelligence Enterprise Edition) as the reporting engine because it provides users a robust set of reporting tools, ad-hoc query and analysis, OLAP, dashboards, and scorecard functionality. This rich end-user experience includes visualization and collaboration features, alerts and many more options. OBIEE’s robust reporting is simple for users to access. OBIEE reduces costs with a proven web-based service-oriented architecture that integrates with the existing IT infrastructure. Rich visualizations include interactive dashboards, animated charts and a powerful search function.
These capabilities enable the organization to make better decisions, take informed actions, and implement more efficient business processes.
Value and Results
- Scalability: Our customer now has a highly scalable system with this tool. Our initial development work involved point-of-sale data from just one retailer. Since the initial pilot phase, we have now scaled the solution to incorporate data from a dozen retailers, providing breadth and depth of content. Our client is now able to easily access pertinent data.
- A streamlined assimilation process: The nightmare days of data cleansing and loading are now in the rearview mirror. We have established a cadence of 24-hour data turnaround time. The business is now able to effortlessly create time periods of a particular day, week, month, quarter, or YTD to generate views and reports with ease.
- Dynamic reports: Users can collect, curate and analyze valuable business data according to parameters they define. These insights enable our client to use its data as a descriptive, predictive and live decision-making resource. As a result, this manufacturer has quick access to visual data as it unfolds, allowing them to intelligently respond to situations.
- All KPIs are in one central location
- Ability to view sales performance data at the store or item level
- Ability to define particular comparison points (stores, sizes, brands, regions, other)
- Users can define different time periods to measure and compare data
- User permissions are defined to deliver appropriate custom results
- Reduced time spent gathering information across multiple platforms
- Discover the share of sales factors over a time period defined by users
- Ability to ascertain the sales lift provided by a promotion or other criteria
- Eliminated the need for purchasing retailer platform licensing fees
- Improved decision-making response ability as POS intelligence is measured
- Simplified, dynamic dashboards enable users to easily comprehend metrics
Vertex is a business and technology consulting ﬁrm that helps customers transform their business processes with leading edge technology. Learn more at www.vertexcs.com.
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Vertex Computer Systems
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