Client Story: Global Retailer Transforms Store Operations with Digital Analytics

For hundreds of years, personal interactions have been the bread and butter of the retail and consumer goods industries. And while the human touch is still foundational to customer interactions, digitization has become an essential component of retail and consumer goods operations. Data modernization is critical to successful digital transformation. Every organization collects, stores and manages data. We are seeing a shift in all industries, as smart devices and newer technologies are being introduced within the enterprise. The future means thinking about new and innovative ways of collecting and managing information to make effective decisions.

Finding the right fit

This global footwear company, established in 1878, has grown to become a global enterprise, home to a diverse portfolio of loved and admired brands. Supporting its values of passion, curiosity, creativity, caring and accountability, the company prides itself on meeting consumers where they want to shop, whether in-store or online. Its brands can be found on the company’s e-commerce sites, in department stores, and in more than 1,000 retail stores.

But when it came to the retailer’s data analytics system, the legacy ‘shoe’-lution simply didn’t fit. The client was experiencing challenges making vital business decisions as quickly as the retail world and customers demanded. Its legacy retail system, built on IBM AS/400 technology, was generating latent and difficult-to-calculate store operations metrics, delivered at least a week in arrears, at best.

The company’s leadership wanted more real-time data and visual interfaces that would allow store managers to keep pace with everything from inventory to local work schedules. They also wanted to automate and create more visually intelligible reports. What products are selling? Are we hitting our sales targets? What is our accessory attachment rate this month? Are customers joining our rewards program, and using it? They needed to make these updates simultaneously across all locations. Thousands of decisions are made at these retail locations each day, and the company realized its lack of modernized data management was impacting the bottom line.

The company also has a long history of charitable giving in the communities it serves and wanted to better manage its contributions to maximize its giving impacts while celebrating the work its employees do in their communities.

Microsoft Power BI to the rescue

The client partnered with Protiviti, recognizing that it needed a trusted partner to make the changes needed to improve its bottom line. We set out to improve same-store performance using real-time data, building an interface that would be easy to consume with limited training required. We knew that interface could empower the store managers to more effectively manage staff-to-revenue ratios, flexing staffing up or down based on demand, ultimately resulting in cost savings.

Protiviti leveraged Microsoft Power BI to help this client improve its operational analytics. The project involved automating the generation of reports, replacing the archaic system that took at least a week to produce results. The goal was to give store managers actionable real-time data delivered via effective visual interfaces, easy for anyone to understand with little training. Our recommendations included:

  • Enhanced financial reporting. Improved financial reporting by designing and implementing a more effective and efficient financial closing process. This helped close books faster and provided more accurate and timely financial information for management decision-making.
  • Streamlined business processes. Conducted a thorough review of business processes and identified areas for improvement. By streamlining processes and eliminating redundancies, the client reduced costs and improved efficiency.
  • Strengthened internal controls. Strengthened internal controls by implementing a robust control framework that included policies and procedures, risk assessments, and testing procedures. This helped ensure compliance with regulatory requirements and mitigate fraud risk.
  • Implemented effective and impactful Microsoft solutions. Leveraged Microsoft Power BI, Azure Synapse and Azure Data Lake to modernize and improve data analytics so the client could better understand its business operations and make more informed decisions on the store floor.

Improved results, rapid data availability

With this new custom analytics solution that collects real-time and historical data on store operations and sales performance, data is now available across the organization within 15 minutes. This gives corporate leadership, retail location decision-makers and store associates alike the power to make immediate, revenue-boosting improvements while enhancing the client’s commitment to the communities it serves.

To learn more about our data analytics and Microsoft consulting solutions, contact us.

Steve Freeman

Managing Director
Business Platform Transformation

Eric Wojcik

Business Platform Transformation

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