BI Tools in Woolworths Limited

Introduction     Business Intelligence (BI) entails a set of data, applications, processes and technologies useful in making business decisions (McBride, 2015). BI is not only used in financial managements but finds a wide range of applicability in a business setting. It can be applied in aspects such as: evaluating staff performance, assessing sales and determining the effectiveness of manufacturing processes.  In this paper, Business Intelligence will be discussed with close reference to Woolworth’s limited company. The BI tools used by the stated company will be discussed and an assessment of their contribution in the success of the company done. Additionally, an opinion based on the relevance of the BI tools will also be given. Lastly, the main factors that influence the success of BI in the company will be outlined. This paper will provide a clear reflection of the expected outcomes for reference to any company considering to integrate BI in its running.

The Background of the Company

            Woolworths limited is a top Australian company established in 1924 in Sydney (Woolworth Group, 2015). The Woolworths are dealers in supermarkets, petrol, liquor, hotels, gaming and financial services amongst other provisions. Financially it is the second largest company and the overall in liquor retailing and hotel services. This company is not in any way related to other companies bearing a similar name located in United States and South Africa.

BI Tools and Techniques used by Woolworths Limited

            The Woolworths limited has engaged various tools to provide critical business information. Such tools include: HP Neoview, Teradata, Informatica, SAS and SAP (Gedda, 2009). Each of the stated tools is limited to a specific field in order to drive the business to its full potential. The HP Neoview technique was meant to provide the predictions about store operations which are necessary for quality customer service. The Teradata contract was signed in to integrate the gradually heightening customer data. Informatica was engaged to integrate the company’s data while SAS and SAP were for business analytics and business objects for reporting respectively.

The Improvement of Woolworths Limited over other Companies

The Woolworths Limited has been ranked number two out of the two thousand top companies in Australia. This premium status involved a great effort both by the management and the employees. This company has expanded in time providing unlimited services to its customers. The Woolworths are not limited to a single business specialization as it is the case for many companies. The involvement in a wide range of businesses is a key reason tor the continuous successes. The locals have experienced the gradual success of the company from 1924 when it first set up the first single Stupendous Bargain Basement.

The Woolworths incur lesser labor costs as compared to other companies (Johnson, 2011). BI saves the costs and time which would have been invested in manually analyzing the institutional data. Minimal time and resources are required to reach quality and reliable business decisions. BI systems reduce labor costs by automating data collection methods, report generation and saving the finances that would have been used to hire the required personnel for acquiring and maintaining important business reports.

The BI has provided the Woolworths with the opportunity to harness crucial information at their own convenience. The information needed can easily be traced from the systems. The executives do not require to engage the IT personnel to extract financial reports. The systems as well allow enable authorized users to make new reports to satisfy their requirements.

The Value of BI to the Woolworths Company and the Customers

            The application of Business Intelligence has not only created more opportunity for the expansion of the company but also quality services to its customers. The analysis of the past and the current trends to provide future insights gives the management the ability to make the correct decisions for prosperity. The company is able to identify any evading dangers and address them before their consequences occur.

Advantages to the Company

            BI has created a competitive advantage in the market space (Huang, 2011). BI integrated with the internet provides an analysis of the customer and market trends making the Woolworths to adjust quickly to suit in to the contemporary trends. Profiling customers achieved through the integration of their data helps the Woolworths to identify the most valuable customers and to determine how to cross-sell and up-sell. Through Business Performance Management (BPI), the company is able to classify products according to their demand to either do away with them or conduct support promotions to curb competition.

Woolworths no longer depends on guesswork to make critical business decisions. The huge amounts of data collected supports decision making. Previously, the management was entrusted with the mandate to make the best guess or whatever seemed to be good for the business. The availability of data analysis software has helped to move from a gambling business game to certainty while making decisions (Fazlollahtabar, 2012). With this accurate data is engaged to reach reliable and informed decisions.

BI is a key tool in cost-benefit analysis. Techniques in BI help the Woolworths to easily compare the costs and the benefits associated with the adoption of a proposed project. It provides an insight of the capital input and an estimate of the anticipated output (Farrow, 2015). With this the company has been able to minimize the production costs maximizing the profits.

BI has helped the Woolworths to identify and understand the customer needs. An analysis of the sales through BI has shown the preferred goods in order of their preference. This helps the company to appropriately stock their goods. Being familiar with customer preferences prompts the meeting of customers needs. The long term effect of this is retention of customers. Satisfied customers often translate to increased revenue.

Advantages to the Customers

            Customer satisfaction is a backbone to any prospering business. The adoption of BI by the Woolworths has improved the customer experience and enhanced the company’s reputation. Customers feel contended and elevated when their voices are heard.

It is a common phenomenon to see large queues of customers lined up in Woolworths retails to acquire goods or services. Ideally, Business Intelligence tools create awareness to the management on the customer preferences and their fulfillments (Virtanen, 2015). The aim the Woolworths to enhance customer satisfaction calls for customer centered business practices. The company has therefore established favorable marketing strategies which make the customers to keep coming for more.Factors that Influence the Success of BI in Woolworths Limited

             Several factors have to be considered to ensure a perfect environment for the success of BI. Such factors include: well established partnerships between the business and the IT, the readiness to accept change, adoption of the most current methodologies, executive involvement, clear cut business problems and a reliable architecture. The observation of these factors often translates to a transformation in the business.

In order to make BI a success in the Woolworths Company, an intimate relationship should be put in place (Yeoh, 2011). The company should ensure that the IT personnel are well versed with the data records in order to ensure more accurate decisions. The company as well should carefully choose its technology options. This does not necessarily mean that they should engage the technologies which have their existing software packages. An evaluation should be done to identify the technology that will best suit the company.

The Woolworths ought to be quick to adjust to the changes and new processes. The business and the IT are obliged to move to the new environment proposed by the BI analysis (Yeoh, Extending the understanding of critical success factors for implementing business intelligence systems, 2015). The Woolworths have always been easy to change to fit in the current trends. This ensures more profitable deals at minimum costs. Delays made in the implementation of the proposed decisions will cause harm to the business and the customers. This defines the key role of performance in the soonest timeframe possible.

To attain the best out of BI, the Woolworths have ensured engagement of competent executives. This determines how well the implementation of decisions will be done.

The executives have knowledge on BI and help to get the reporting requirements right. They are part of the business and always propel it towards success.

The Woolworths have always been keen to identify the problems affecting the business. This is vital to guide the IT personnel on the areas of specialization. This forms a basis for the application of the BI software which makes it easy to reach the recommended decisions in time. The development of dependable software has also helped the Woolworths to flourish in BI.

Conclusion

            Small business should as well be encouraged to engage in BI practices. The fear of the high monetary and time costs often puts them off. The fear of whether the practice will draw benefits in their businesses is also a key hindrance. However, research has proved beyond limits that there are more benefits associated with BI than risks. Advantages of BI cut across almost all business sectors. Such include: decision-making, profit adjustments, competitive adjustments and the quality of customer services. These encompass all the factors for business success. With BI, any business can easily be driven to a higher revenue ranking.