Analytics and retail remain a perfect pair

The more esoteric uses for business intelligence are exciting, to be sure, but BI is also helpful for everyday operations. Some fields, such as insurance, finance and retail, have huge troves of data flowing in and out that would turn into valuable resources with the right technology to harness them. This is where business intelligence and analytics systems fit in and, indeed, where they may already be doing so. When looking for a company that currently uses analytics, those with ample numerical data are great candidates. Firms in these industries that aren't using BI may be falling behind the curve.

The holiday rush
There is perhaps no greater test for retailers than excelling during the holidays. This is the time of the year when a strategy crystallizes and it becomes clear whether a firm will be seeing red in its ledgers. As TechTarget recently pointed out, BI comes to the fore when retail users need to be at their most effective, and that is the time between November and the end of the year. The source presented anecdotes from a specialty business called The Grommet which studies its customer base's behavior, hoping to find a marketing message that will sell an ideal number of products to consumers.

TechTarget explained that further clarification came at the SAS Premier Business Leadership Series gathering, where Northwestern University professor Terri Albert spoke on customer loyalty. Albert stated there should be a custom retail approach for each client, with practices that change automatically to meet clients halfway. To do that, companies need to take in data about their consumers and turn the information into action. This is a job for BI and advanced analytics software. Some analysis, including the inspection of social interactions, may enter the realm of big data. However firms handle this analysis, they should do so during high-pressure times for maximum possible impact.

Ideal products
Working with consumer data requires software that is up to the task. Programs such as Necto 14 fit the bill because of the ability to both analyze large quantities of esoteric data and present slivers of results that are relevant to specific individuals within the company. These professionals don't have to dig through endless screens to learn what they most want to know, and there's no need to hand off analysis duties to a small group of specially trained experts within the company, either. Such relevant and targeted knowledge delivery could transform the holiday season for businesses eager to optimize sales.

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