Turning Oceans Of Data Into A Day At The Beach [Future Of Retail]

Turning Oceans Of Data Into A Day At The Beach [Future Of Retail]

PSFK Labs looks at the real-time analytics tools helping transform information into insights.

  • 7 november 2013

Are you equipped to deal with the tidal wave of data being produced by your business every day? Will your organization get caught inside the break or ride the crest all the way to shore?

The challenges associated with harnessing Big Data have been widely discussed as retailers and brands come to grips with how to transform the deluge of information attached to every customer interaction (we’ve discussed previously here) and business transaction into actionable insights. However, as more sophisticated algorithms become available to capture and analyze data in real-time and report those findings through visually-rich dashboards, where it can be accessed by C-level execs on down to entry level employees we’re beginning to see the powerful impact this can have on any size business. These tools are part of trend we’re calling Real-Time Analytics, which comes to us from PSFK Labs‘ latest Future Of Retail Report.


This trend looks at platforms that allow companies to stop treading water and look further down the line, anticipating problems before they occur and implementing solutions that can be tracked in real-time. This iterative process enables organizational changes to evolve alongside the consumer or marketplace. In the “Analytics: The new path to value” report from IBM’s Institute for Business Value, they found that organizations achieving a competitive advantage with analytics are 2.2 times more likely to substantially outperform their industry peers. But companies shouldn’t fear that they’re falling too far behind just yet, as less than 15% of CEOs regularly use dashboards for their primary data access and 74% of business leaders must get their data from multiple, unconnected sources according to Domo‘s recent survey, “What Business Leaders Hate About Big Data”.

PSFK Labs sees Real-Time Analytics as a trend that benefits companies both big and small. Luis Llamas the Director of Enterprise Innovations for Motorola Solutions says, “We see a radical shift of the division of the knowledge work and the task work in retail. Every employee will become a knowledge worker. As long as you can put the right information in their hands to be able to make the quick decisions and react to what their business needs in the moment, they will make better decisions.”


Scott Lachut, Director of PSFK Labs, suggests that companies looking to improve their data understanding, “Do more with less. Understand what data matters most to your business, experiment with what works and build your strategy from there.”

As you look to implement Real-Time Analytics tools within your own organization, we recommend asking yourself these key questions to help you prepare:

  • What are key metrics about your business that you want to track and how is this data sourced?

  • What information should you supply to sales associates and store managers for customer interactions and how is it deployed?

  • Can you create automated processes and actions based on cues like distribution triggers or inventory changes?

  • Can you create tactical action teams to react to real-time shifts in your data?

  • Can marketing campaigns become more iterative as you are able to react rapidly to effective and ineffective deployments?

Contributed by: Wesley Robison

In the fourth edition of the Future of Retail ReportPSFK Labs brings together two interconnected themes and eleven key trends that provide a foundation for the modern shopping experience. The findings are brought to life with best-in-class examples, actionable strategies and leading questions to inspire leading retailers and brands.


Images: The Atlantic, Leaf, & UX Mag

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