Atheon Analytics: Why crunching data isn't the same as making decisions
Many retail businesses feel that they are drowning in data, but also don't have information in the right format to make it easy to use.
For many individuals in sales or supply-chain roles within the retail sector, much of their job involves downloading, manipulating and formatting data. But is this where the most value to the business lies?
Whilst obtaining and manipulating the data is just the first step, it is probably what takes 90% of the time and effort - just to put a sales or supply-chain manager in the position where they can then start to apply their domain expertise.
Historically, the technology to automatically collect and manipulate data has been either difficult to use or financially unviable for many businesses, which meant that learning the basics of Excel was the only answer for most people. The ‘best’ analysts at the time were probably those with the best Excel skills rather than those able to interpret the data in the best way or make the best recommendations off the back of the data.
Even today, we hear endless stories about Category Managers spending their Sundays downloading data from retailer systems, just so they have enough time at 6 am on a Monday morning to get the bare minimum of insight together for retailers in time for 9 am meetings.
However, tools and techniques are now available that automate data collection and transformation, taking away all of the pre-analysis pain, leaving domain experts to do what they are paid for, making decisions with confidence.
Automated data collection and transformation means less time wrangling data, whilst combined with visualisation tools and techniques enables faster and deeper analysis. Because this complex data can be articulated quickly, in a way that can be easily understood – especially important when communicating to retailers - this can elevate FMCGs as category experts and build important collaborative relationships where all parties benefit.
Embrace change - I’m old enough to remember the sweet chimes of my 56k dial-up modem connecting me to the internet, something long passed and replaced by 1Gb fibre-enabled broadband - they both will connect me to the internet but I have no desire to spend time waiting to stream my favourite TV show or film.
Yet, in today’s age of 1Gb fibre-enabled broadband, traditional retailer data download processes are the equivalent of using a 56k dial-up modem. It is time to apply this same logic to FMCG data analysis. Let’s free our retail analysts to be able to analyse, not slow them down with tasks that in this day and age, are pointless and most definitely not necessary.
Ed Crawford, is a Product Manager at Atheon Analytics, a UK-based data analysis and insights company helping its customers make the leap from numbers to information to understanding.
ServiceNow pumps millions into EU service compliance
ServiceNow, the digital workflow company, has announced a multimillion euro investment to help EU customers meet compliance requirements.
The legal, technical and organisational safeguards will help companies to comply with the the Schrems II judgment and European Data Protection Board (EDPB) Recommendations issued in June 2021.
ServiceNow’s investment means all EU-hosted data will be exclusively handled within the EU, and the cloud-hosted digital workflow provider claims its solution will come “without impact on current delivery and service”.
ServiceNow upgrade: free of charge
There will be no cost for current customers to opt in to the data compliance solution, even though ServiceNow is investing an unspecified multimillion euro sum and hiring more than 80 new staff across the bloc.
Mark Cockerill, vice president legal, EMEA and global head of privacy at ServiceNow, said: “With any regulation change, cloud services companies have a choice. They can adopt a ‘wait and see’ approach or get proactive and help customers and partners innovate. At ServiceNow we are on the front foot, continually investing in our customers, allowing them to operate with the highest level of choice and control over their EU data.
ServiceNow upgrade: ‘peace of mind’
“Our new EU-centric service delivery model will give our current customers and partners peace of mind. For customers and partners operating in highly regulated industries, or in the public sector, or those that have yet to make the switch to the cloud, this model gives them certainty and simplicity when selecting the cloud service that best suits their needs.”
Carla Arend, lead analyst, cloud in europe for IDC, said, “The Schrems II ruling has led European organizations to revisit their cloud-related data protection policies and processes when it comes to international data transfers through cloud services.
“Contractual, privacy, and security safeguards and the assurance that data will be kept and handled in the EU help European organizations to comply with European data protection laws while taking advantage of global cloud platforms. Vendors, such as ServiceNow, that invest to support their customers in response to this ruling are providing essential choice to their customers.”