In the face of ever-increasing data volumes, data processing and analysis have become extremely complex. This is particularly the case for retail businesses, who must be able to collect and harmonize data from a wide variety of sources. Data visualization is an essential tool in meeting this challenge: it can unlock the full potential of data and profoundly transform the way businesses are managed.
These concepts were highlighted during the Morning Retail Event which took place in Lille on October 13, 2020, hosted by DigDash.
On the agenda: A speech by Gilles Fiolet, Chief Innovation Officer at Cenisis, the independent French Consulting and Integration of Data Management Solutions Group. As an integrated DigDash partner, Cenisis has joined us in highlighting the importance of data in a company’s success.
Secondly, Jean-Marc Sangnier, Head of BI for the women’s prêt-à-porter brand Promod, provided us with detailed feedback (in french), detailing his search for a data visualization tool adapted to his needs, and the company’s subsequent integration of DigDash Enterprise.
Data remains an under-exploited resource
For Gilles Fiolet, Chief Innovation Officer at Cenisis, there is a growing demand for new indicators. For effective management, businesses today need to present the most accurate, intelligible, and efficient indicators possible. “The challenge is to unlock the potential of data. This is done through use, by adopting strategies, methods and organization processes designed to put data at the heart of a company’s core business. But a new philosophy of data is also necessary. We must appreciate that data can have a multitude of uses, and that it’s not just about driving margins and revenues.”
Performance management is the top priority for managers of large businesses (and the second priority for SME managers), but data can also help organizations to make collaborators happier, or to highlight their corporate social responsibility (CSR) efforts. But, whatever the desired objective, the potential of data is still under-exploited.
“We found that only 70% of reports are actually used. Almost a third of what is produced is not at all used or underused, so there is a lot of waste. This is mainly due to a lack of confidence in the data, which is sometimes not qualitative or understandable to users. As a result, the preparation and manipulation of data is taking up more and more space. To the point where actual data analysis accounts for only 30% of the total time spent dealing with data.”
There are many reasons why data is underused: uninspiring and unattractive visualizations, overloaded graphics, and a repetition of the same visuals for all needs and circumstances. To remedy this, a real paradigm shift is needed.
Telling a story with data
Changing your approach to data means, above all, thinking of your dashboards as stories that need to be told.
According to Gilles Fiolet, “With a tool like DigDash, it is possible to think about reporting in a different way; to make it more interactive so that everyone can understand the indicators, structure them as they wish, and adapt them to the appropriate context. A good story is, above all, a good data set, a fitting context, an effective objective and the right visuals. But it also means mastering the plot and the outcome: whoever does the reporting is the one that guides the analysis. It is that person who will lead the reader or listener in one or the other direction. We can tell the same story with very different visions. The way the data, figures and indicators are presented will change the outcome.”
The creation of an efficient reporting system should be based on four questions:
- “For whom?”: It is necessary to adapt to the audience and to meet audience expectations as closely as possible.
- “Why?“: The reasons why reporting is required must be defined.
- “To what end?”: This relates to determining what is expected of your audience.
- “How do we get there?”: Finally, you have to choose the most suitable representation for getting your message across.
To illustrate, Gilles Fiolet takes the example of a sales summary dashboard: We often see catch-all dashboards with many indicators: revenues, margin, stock, number of people who have entered the store, etc.”. The user must then deal with all this information, which does not necessarily interest him, to make decisions. A better approach is to communicate different information to store and marketing managers, by sending them different reports. For example, the store manager will probably be more interested in the conversion rate, while the head of marketing will want to see the revenues for each sales channel. ”
In short, you need to take the time to create your narrative outline and storyboard to create the right story. The best way to do this is to use visual and agile tools such as those DigDash offers.
Promod: Enhancing the value of data thanks to data visualization
In the second part of the morning, Jean-Marc Sangnier, Head of Data and DAF Product Manager at Promod, spoke about the data project his company is undertaking and their adoption of DigDash Enterprise tools.
Promod had been working for several years on a transformation plan, including a data project, which kicked off in 2018. An internal audit found that the company possessed an information system rich in data on its customers, products and suppliers.
Despite this, Promod found that this asset was under-utilized, and the company set out to make better use of it by infusing data into the customer experience. An important challenge was to unify all departments (supply, offer, marketing, sales) around this data.
Objective: to build a customer-centered 360° vision.
Initially, the company wanted to establish a data platform to handle a large number of data-science use cases. In other words, giving data-scientists the opportunity to analyze the data and provide statistics to each of the various departments. The project then took a new turn with the decision to review the KPIs of each department in order to align them with the priority topics of the transformation plan.
To achieve this, Promod had to implement two major projects. Firstly, the implementation of an ad-hoc governance mechanism; and secondly, the rewriting of the dashboards in the form of data visualization. This led the company to search for a data visualization / BI tool.
The selection of a suitable data visualization solution
Previously, Promod had used a variety of tools to meet its reporting needs, from internally developed dashboards to third-party software.
This led to the question: “What solution is capable of replacing some or all of our current tools?”
The research and selection process began with the drafting of a list of potential solutions. A wide range of tools, from market leaders to alternative solutions, was examined.
Promod then designed an assessment matrix based on the specific needs of the company. A number of criteria for determining the best tool were considered:
- User experience (ergonomics, comment management, storytelling, etc.)
- Self-service BI.
- Ease of development (modeling, creation of graphics, simulation management…)
- Refresh modes (programmed, controlled…)
- Automatic integration of graphics in PDFs, emails, Powerpoint…
- Opinions of representatives from the various departments.
- Adaptation to the needs of both retail stores and headquarters.
Following this assessment, it was decided to establish a POC for the top two solutions, one of which was DigDash. Following the POC, the company decided to select DigDash because of its competitive pricing, as well as a number of key criteria that the competitor did not offer:
- The ability to run simulations and to easily save the parameters entered.
- The existence of a centralized data model including indicator calculations.
Support during the transition
Revolutionizing business management involves some reluctance… This new use of data implies a real change management strategy. Within a given organization, collaborators are generally accustomed to using certain tools over a number of years. Business and IT users must therefore be supported if they are to accept changes. Moreover, a new solution means a new approach to certain management policies. These developments can be disruptive and therefore should be accompanied by a full-fledged change in management strategy.
This Morning Retail Event, held on October 13, 2020, placed under the banner of data-driven business management, provided an opportunity to exchange best practices and share inspiring feedback for retail players. And this is just the beginning: DigDash is already planning other sector meetings for the coming months. Customers, partners, businesses wishing to learn about data visualization: we welcome you!