Choosing the Best Business Intelligence Software for Your CPG Business
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We can’t overemphasize the importance and value harmonized retail data brings to consumer packaged goods (CPG) businesses, especially as it relates to Business Intelligence (BI) Software. If BI software is an engine, data harmonization is the fuel. The performance of the engine is only as good as the fuel that feeds into it, just as data visualization is only as good as the data that feeds into it. Without clean, harmonized data, you can’t fully comprehend the patterns and trends that help you troubleshoot operational issues and accelerate sales across multiple touch points.
Why Harmonized Data Matters
Being able to visualize and analyze all the data at your fingertips can be overwhelming with much room for human error if using manual data collection, integration, and reporting processes. Having incorrect or incomplete data can cost your business financially and operationally. When you can’t rely on your data, you can’t trust your own decisions, and in CPG businesses, decisions need to be made quickly and confidently. In an industry with as many moving parts as CPG, making timely and informed decisions is critical to maximizing sales and moving inventory. The role of harmonized data is to produce reliable data with standardized metrics and naming conventions so that when that data is fed into BI software, tools, and systems, analysts can rest assured knowing their insights are based on accurate, clean data that paints the larger picture of the business, as well as provides the necessary granularity.
What is Business intelligence software?
BI software helps businesses collect, analyze, and visualize their business data. After collecting disparate data from various sources such as databases, spreadsheets, and other software applications, BI software presents that data in user-friendly formats like reports, graphs, charts, and dashboards. From there, data and business analysts can use the visualized data to generate actionable insights and inform business decisions across the enterprise with real-time data analysis and reporting. BI software also allows users to perform advanced analytics such as forecasting, data mining, and predictive modeling. Put simply, BI software is visualizing data from multiple touchpoints to better inform decision making.
The Role of BI software in CPG
BI software plays an important role in the CPG industry by providing key insights into consumer behavior, market trends, retail sales and inventory activity, and operational performance. Visualizing data through BI software helps to unravel shopper behavior, preferences, and trends so that CPGs can use the insights to better target consumers or tailor products to changing market needs and shopper preferences. It helps uncover hidden relationships and patterns in data that would have otherwise remained hidden or siloed. BI also enables CPGs to monitor point-of-sale (POS) and supply chain activity up and down the line and communicate results or issues with retailer partners. A survey from Reuters Events explains how there is an urgent need to move beyond legacy systems and gain end-to-end supply chain visibility.
"BI software is an invaluable tool for CPG companies, helping them make data-driven decisions
to improve operational efficiency and drive profitable growth."
Here are some of the ways BI software is used in CPG:
- Sales and Marketing: BI software can track and analyze POS, new product launches, and trade promotions data, providing insights into which products are selling well, which regions or channels are performing best, and how marketing campaigns are impacting sales. This information can help CPG companies optimize their sales, marketing, and trade promotion strategies to increase revenue and maximize ROI.
- Supply Chain Management: BI software can monitor and analyze supply chain data, such as inventory levels and production rates, to identify potential bottlenecks or inefficiencies. This information can help CPG companies optimize their supply chain and reduce out-of-stocks to reduce costs, improve delivery times and retail replenishment, and ensure on-shelf availability.
- Product Development: BI software can analyze consumer feedback and market trends to identify opportunities for new products or product improvements. This information can help CPG companies develop products that better meet consumer needs and preferences.
- Retail Sales Analytics: BI software can track retail velocity and monitor product performance in stores and online, providing insights into consumer demand and product placement. This information can help CPG companies optimize their retail execution strategies and tactics to improve sales, retailer relationships, and customer satisfaction and brand loyalty.
Overall, BI software is an invaluable tool for CPG companies, helping them make data-driven decisions to improve operational efficiency and drive profitable growth. BI software can also help CPGs gain a competitive advantage by using reliable retail data to remove barriers to purchase and enhance shopper experience and satisfaction, leading to an increase in product movement and revenue.
Preparing to implement BI software into your CPG business
Before implementing BI software into your business, it is essential to clearly define your team’s experience level with BI applications, their expectations for how this software will improve processes and inform business decisions, as well as how the BI software will scale with your business.
Discuss the following with your team to ensure everyone is on the same page as you move to incorporate BI tools into your CPG business:
- What are your business needs/goals?
- What are your preferred features and capabilities?
- How easy is it to deploy, use, and integrate into your business?
- What are the dashboards, data visualization and reporting capabilities?
- Deployment method and integration with existing systems and data sources
- Scalability and flexibility
- Security and data privacy
- Cost and ROI
The Power of Microsoft Power BI
No matter your business’ needs or goals—especially as they relate to retail data reporting and analytics—as you plan to implement BI software we favor utilizing Microsoft Power BI, which is also part of Retail Velocity’s VELOCITY® cloud-based retail data collection, reporting, and analytics platform for consumer brands. Among Power BI's many strengths, it can be seamlessly integrated into existing Microsoft tech stacks, while also being compatible across any tech environment. Power BI is universally comprehensive and has extremely robust and reliable reporting capabilities. Combine that with VELOCITY’s unparalleled data cleansing and harmonization capabilities, and you can be confident knowing your data is accurate, secure, and ready to inform critical business decisions.
At Retail Velocity, we incorporate Power BI as part of our solutions for several reasons:
- Data Visualization and Interactive, Customizable Dashboards: Visualize any data and create and modify data reports and dashboards easily and share them securely across applications.
- Ease of Use: Nontechnical business users familiar with Excel utilize an intuitive user interface with easy drag and drop functionality, allowing users to copy all formatting across similar visualizations.
- Collaboration: Share dashboards and reports and promote meaningful insights across your organization and empower everyone to quickly make data-driven business decisions that drive strategic action. Increase collaboration among sales, marketing, supply chain teams, business analysts, data engineers, data scientists, and more.
- Security: Power BI was built to provide industry-leading complete and hermetic protection for data, including row-level security. The product has earned the highest security classifications available in the industry.
- Scalability: Power BI is prepared to grow with you and your business with scalable data models that enable enterprise-scale analytics. As you make more informed decisions, growth is inevitable. You can be prepared for that moment with a tool that keeps growth at the forefront.
Implementing reliable BI software to support your retail data and analysis needs while ensuring your foundational data is as accurate and reliable as possible to generate the most valuable insights are two of the most effective ways to ensure you’re utilizing your organization’s data advantageously and to its fullest potential.
At Retail Velocity, we have over 25 years’ experience in automatically collecting, cleansing, and harmonizing supply and demand data for CPGs and helping them bridge the gap between data and decision-making—and BI software, such as VELOCITY—is a significant piece of the retail puzzle.
If you want peace of mind knowing your data is organized, precise, and being leveraged optimally, reach out to us today.