Photo by Toshihiro Oimatsu
Picture this: First thing in the morning, with your initial cup of coffee in hand, you review the morning reports on your mobile as you walk to your desk. The data just in from Italy — tracking in multiple currencies and languages, and allowing you to alternate between retail and cost accounting methods — indicates the latest SKU in your shoe line taking off, delighting customers, with no end in sight. Experience tells you that demand in Italy serves as a bellwether to your business in the United States, and you want to make sure you are in full control to leverage the opportunity from a business perspective, while presenting a consistent customer face and experience. A few swipes through the data allow you to profile the buyers and to map that data against the profiles and volumes you have in your various channels throughout the United States.
Another couple of swipes enable you to move that shoe’s inventory to stores and other channels where the demographics match the buyer profile, and your data mining/business analysis enables you to order accessory products with similar styles and features to encourage impulse buying. You navigate between your financial management and operational systems seamlessly, notifying the marketing department to get the store, online, social and mobile promotions ready and scheduling additional staff and other resources to support the projected customer crowd that soon will be coming through your online and brick-and-mortar doors in the United States.
As you sip that same first cup of Joe, you lean back, confident that your ability to analyze business information in real-time has just made your short-term business direction sharper, more effective at putting your customers first and anticipating their needs, and perhaps most importantly, poised for increased profitability. All of this is thanks to the depth of features such as interoperability, integration and granular-level tracking and reporting of your financial management system. Read more at Chain Store Age, News and Analysis for Retail Executives, “Maximizing Your Finance Data to Drive Your Retail Business“.
You don’t have to picture the scenario; you can actually make it happen through modern retail finance and technology. Here are the 3 main features to help you achieve this:
Interoperability: Best-of-class business and finance system’s modern technology and web services allow companies today to retain their existing operational systems that work, and replace those that lack the flexibility to meet their strategic needs and the flexibility to adapt to the ever-changing market demands. This not only reduces the cost of ‘ripping and replacing’ your ERP system and alleviate unnecessary layers of technology, tools, and complexity but it also offers a “no-compromise” approach – being able to use the best systems for the job, so you can concentrate on adding value to your specialized systems.
Integration: Without needing IT intervention, your information can seamlessly flow from your operational systems and other critical business systems to the hub of it all, your financial management system. From the example above, your software systems can interactively “talk to” your finance system to provide you with financial data that you can easily read to make strategic decisions for driving profitability.
Multi-Dimensional Reporting: With interoperability, powerful integration capabilities, and a robust flexible financial information model, there are exceptional ways to capture, store, and maintain financial data. Business analysis is endless, allowing you to analyze the data any way you want. The ability to run reports, slice and dice data and take a deeper dive into the data help you forecast the future and seize opportunities.
What are some of the ways your retail organization is using technology for making smarter decisions? Please share your comments and scenarios below.
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