Data Warehousing and the Retail Enterprise

Oct 04, 2002
Ron Margulis

By Ron Margulis

Data warehousing is defined as the process of capturing, storing and analyzing data to gain business insight for better decision-making. Data warehousing is the basis for combining disparate information often contained in non-integrated systems called data marts or data silos, so that all business users can access all the information they need in real time without having to rely on lengthy IT transfer processes.

At the core of many retail enterprises, companies like Wal-Mart and SUPERVALU are using data warehousing to better serve their customers and improve the flow of mission-critical information both within and outside of their organizations. Wal-Mart, with one of the world’s largest databases, has consistently pointed to its use of a data warehouse as a competitive advantage that helps the company maintain high in-stock levels while minimizing inventory.

At the Teradata Partners User Group meeting in Las Vegas this week, attendees representing some of the largest retailers in the world heard presentations that described how retailers have optimized their decision-making process by implementing data warehouses. The retailers, which included The Limited, Meijer, Sears and Sainsbury’s, accomplished this optimization by delivering more accurate data to the right business users when they needed it to make decisions on a series of procurement, merchandising and promotion tasks.

Among the benefits realized are:

  • Greatly enhanced reporting in terms of both speed and data quality

  • Improved customer information for corporate marketing campaigns

  • Reduced time to market for new products

  • Increased advertising effectiveness

  • Improved data access for the user community

Data warehousing is an increasingly important element of the technology strategy of many retailers and recent reports from Gartner Group and AMR Research indicate this is a trend that will continue for the foreseeable future.

Moderator’s Comment: Will a data warehouse become a
required tool of doing business for retailers in the future? [George
Anderson – Moderator

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