Understanding Retail Mobile Business Intelligence (BI)

When DEN first began operations, our clients were astonished with the simple BI functions that were available, especially with mobile devices. These basic functions delivered BI Key Performance Indicators enabling brokers and field reps to place orders and handle RMS’s on the road and all from the palm of their hands. Productivity and field efficiency soared. Technology continues to evolve rapidly, and with the advancement in the capabilities of tablets and smartphones along with the speed of cloud computing, DEN can be a resource helping to bring retailers and manufacturers to a whole new level of analysis and quick response.

DEN recently launched a project that was over a year in the making and took our retail clients from handwriting orders to being able to access and make changes to their entire inventory wherever they are. What impresses me is the ROI (Return on Investment) that these projects bring in and how many people in an organization benefit from such an investment. 

In the natural food industry for instance, retailers and manufacturers tend to have similar Key Performance Indicators (KPIs), so when we begin a project with a client, we’re able to use our experience from past projects and build on it. We’ve developed a system that allows us to readily identify and breakdown your KPIs, getting the process started much more efficiently.

In building mobile BI apps, it’s also important to start with extensive project discovery. We may dedicate weeks with our clients to understand all aspects of their business. We like to work our way through management, starting with the VPs and working our way down to the support staff and field reps. Receiving info and having participation from all levels is key to success in the adoptions of projects like this.

I learn the most from traveling to different grocery stores with sales reps, helping me to get a grassroots handle on their world. Most reps that haven’t been provided mobile business tools have limited access to crucial data and find it extremely difficult to provide required reports. They often get frustrated with the massive amounts of paperwork they must complete to finish their day, and they get excited by the productivity increases and time savings created by our apps.

After we establish all aspects of the business flow, we start asking questions that focus on which types of reports, dashboards or alerts will improve the productivity and responsiveness of those using mobile devices. For instance, will these data be shown to buyers in presentations?  We encourage clients to consider what data they want to deliver and how. With technology changing almost daily, we’ve noticed most manufacturers are falling behind, unaware of all of the new functions and tools now available for Mobile BI. To gain their interest and trust, apps must be easy to understand and use, and show significant ROI. The biggest talking point in the structural design of Mobile BI right now is how the data is stored.  Being able to rely on a solid Internet connection in 100% of the stores is not likely, so looking at what is synched locally on the device or in the clouds is critical in the software design.

In a nutshell, implementing a mobile BI strategy into your organization can enable your sales staff to be more efficient and productive while providing improved work flow and greater scalability for your company.

Imagine your sales staff having features like this in the palm of their hands:

  • Placing Orders with historical movement data
  • RMAs
  • Inventory
  • Key Performance Indicators (KPIs)
  • Alerts  to focus on abnormal activities
  • Customer relationship management (CRM)
  • Contests  in real time
  • Promotional material (Videos & PDF)
  • Alerts on abnormal activity
  • Contests in real time
  • Ability to place orders using historical movement data

Retailers and manufacturers alike are consistently seeking tools that help keep them in front of their competition. So, keep your eyes open for the new and exciting tools available through DEN’s mobile BI that can take your organization to the next level. The future is today!

Geoffrey Robinson is the founder of  Digital Earth Network, a leader in the emerging world of mobile and digital marketing content and associated applications. Geoffrey was the former founder of Eye Force Productions, a web based advertising company, and has an extensive professional background. Particularly in the Natural Foods industry, in sales, marketing, business operations, consulting, Point of Sale technology and other related verticals. Geoffrey can be reached at 941.366.8282  or through e-mail at info@digitalearthnetwork.com You can also visit http://digitalearthnetwork.com/


Posted on 9/10/13