Power BI (Business Intelligence) gives retail Chief Information Officers, or CIOs, the tools they need to manage all their data effectively. Here’s the thing: siloed ERP and CRM data solutions worked well — once. However, with the overwhelming amount of data retailers need to manage, a streamlined, centralized BI system has become the CIO’s all-essential data tool.

What is Power BI?

Power BI is a collection of software tools that pull all your data sources together in one place, giving you clear, interactive and visually stunning insights.

Running retail stores, the old way

Sam is CIO of a large retail operation. He wastes time running around, chasing data. Even getting answers to simple questions can involve back-and-forth emails between the various data “keepers”.

In fact, Sam spends a lot of time:

  • Pulling data from separate ERP and CRM silos
  • Tracking down and scouring spreadsheets
  • Wondering if the data is accurate

And as he heads into the board of directors meeting, he hopes he’s got the “whole” picture of their retail operation.

The smart way to manage retail data

One day, Sam meets an AlfaPeople specialist, who tells him about Power BI. Sam learns that with Power BI his days as CIO can look more like this:

1 – Access all data from one place

Power BI users customize their Microsoft dashboard to include the applications they use most. The responsive platform instantly adapts to desktop, tablet or mobile for seamless sharing and access across devices.

Sam will customize his Power BI dashboard to display the operation’s IT spend analysis, allowing him to monitor deviations and quickly produce Latest Estimate (LE) reports. Gone are the days of emailing departments for files, waiting for responses and piecing together the information.

2 – See “live” store performance

With a few simple clicks, Power BI organizes data, compiles the information and converts it into stunning visual representations.

Sam can pull up reports and see store performances in real time — at the right time. He can quickly compare this year’s sales to last year’s, by store, product and square footage. No more chasing down information or pouring over a patchwork of spreadsheets to create reports.

3 – Get accurate information

Measuring retail sales, tracking variances and monitoring new stores’ targets requires a sophisticated intelligence solution. That’s where Power BI comes in.

Sam will easily connect to all his data sources, choose the information he needs and generate visuals on the information. This will eliminate Sam’s worry of wondering if the numbers are true.

4 – Make board members happy

Business leaders don’t like confusion. Instead, they need concise information that clearly shows their profits.

Sam will share the operation’s analytics at the stakeholders’ meeting. He will shape the information into a report with crisp, easy-to-understand charts and graphs. Before the meeting, he’ll share the report with board members through Outlook and OneDrive. And when it’s Sam’s turn to present, he’ll do so with confidence, because he knows the information is familiar, clear and accurate.

When the stakes are high

With the fast pace of retail, CIOs like Sam need to transform their data management system, if only to keep up with the competition. Patching together information from various data silos, and hoping it works, is a risky (and stressful) way for retail CIOs to operate.

Alternatively, getting instant access to quality data on a customized Power BI dashboard, and clearly showing stakeholders how their operation is doing, catapults the retail CIO ahead of all the rest.

With AlfaPeople’s Power BI expertise, you can transform your retail operation’s data management to a cloud-based solution with confidence. We’ll help bring your data and people together – all in one place, on a high-performance dashboard.

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Managing Partner at AlfaPeople

With +25 years in the enterprise business solutions space, Erik has a proven track record of advising Midsize and Enterprise companies through successful implementations. His strong focus on Retail for the last 10 years has led to Erik being recognized as a respected leader in Dynamics Retail solutions and a trusted advisor to many retailers.

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