How to… develop your data strategy – suppliers

Tanya Pepin | How To Series

As a supplier, if you sell into the larger wholesale/cash and carry operators there is a good chance that you are buying their EPOS data – and that’s whether you want to or not!

Undoubtedly, EPOS data can be a valuable tool but unless you have a strategy in place for how you are going to use it, it is likely to be under-utilised and providing no clear ROI or value back to your business.

It’s never too late to develop a data strategy!   A clearly defined approach to the use of data will ensure that you can track its effectiveness, measure its benefits and obtain new insights – all against pre-determined criteria.  From here, you will be able to decide which data really works for your organisation and invest accordingly.

Below are some pertinent considerations when you are looking to develop your data strategy:

  • Data Budget – who holds it? How much is it? (This may sound obvious but we come across many organisations that don’t know what they are spending on EPOS data).
  • Be clear on what you want to achieve from purchasing EPOS data? This is big picture and should be supported by a statement such as: “Gain a detailed understanding of our sales through wholesale and our position within the channel.”
  • What data is needed to achieve the vision? It will help you if you map out a set of reports that will provide the pertinent facts as well as a list of data sources that will make the data robust.
  • Who will interpret and disseminate the reporting? It is vital that a data strategy and its implementation has an owner – someone with vested interest and the focus to deliver it.  For example, this could be sales or marketing.
  • Review what data is currently purchased against the newly stated vision.
  • Acquire any additional data and cancel any unnecessary data sets.
  • Identify the potential audience across your business for the new reports and look at how you distribute in a timely and relevant manner.
  • Review current systems and processes for reporting data – your organisation should not need a huge new IT platform. Most wholesale EPOS data sets come pre-formatted on their own system and/or in Excel but it is important that there is a central location where reports can be stored and accessed by all users.
  • To ensure no confusion, be clear about how the EPOS data will be used alongside existing internal reporting.
  • Communicate the data vision to users, explain and show the proposed reports, ask for feedback.
  • Gain buy-in to the vision and strategy, ensure it is embraced and modify reporting requirements based on useful feedback. –
  • Ensure that user’s job roles are modified so that they have to use the new data – if the reports are not vital, some users will avoid reading them.
  • Create a process to measure the effectiveness of your reporting ongoing alongside the management of the data budget and develop a rolling review process.

 

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