The State of BI, Data, and Analytics in Retail in 2021

The response to business challenges stemming from COVID-19 changed the fabric of the retail industry. Worker shortages, lack of visibility into supply chains, changes in customer behavior and traffic flow, and increases in multichannel requirements accelerated an already-changing shift that many retailers still struggle to address effectively. Historically, retail lagged in its analytics investments, due in large part to a short-term investment focus on retail needs and sales. This resulted in a disconnect between business intelligence (BI) investments at the corporate level and at the operations level. With high technology-infrastructure and maintenance costs, many retailers neglected making investments in an analytical data infrastructure (ADI) that supports information access beyond purely operational needs. Insufficient ADI in turn limits retailers’ ability to extract data-related insights and more frequently and rapidly make data-driven decisions as industry changes unfold.

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