After a decade and more of working with SAP Retail, I am finding the latest SAP Retail initiative very interesting. They look very social, trendy and they are simply atomic!
I am not sure if you have ever used: http://help.sap.com/? It is the equivalent of a SAP Product library, where process and functions are written in the most structured and detailed manner. It is a sheer knowledge maze for any youngster in which to get lost. One only gets the hang of how to extract the information from this huge knowledge bank after spending some good time on the site. SAP Retail is a very comprehensive and a very robust solution with enormous advantages both functionally and technically!
A typical Fashion Retail Merchandiser manages anywhere from 60-120 categories and within every category 100-200 SKUs are managed. Further, if you add the parameter of stores, then a typical 100 to 200 stores will get added which means during any given season a Merchandiser is analyzing a minimum of 100,000 data lines! With all this enormous data the only vital objective for a Merchandiser to derive at is INCREASED GMROI, higher profit and higher stock turn.
Reverting to period 2001 -2011 with reference to my SAP retail implementations, I observed one common aspect, all my Merchandiser and Buyer friends in Retail organizations used SAP Retail effectively from a transaction perspective. Then they transferred the data into a spreadsheet application in order to analyze and draw conclusions on the GMROI to SKU performance base. To conclude, Retailers were managing the transaction data in SAP but the visibility of 100,000 data lines in user friendly manner was a struggle area in the overall efficient landscape.
Now my retailer friends demand a very different trend, which is smart lively dash boarding. They smartly prioritize the visuals (i.e. the data view) which will improve their instant decision support system, for which SKU or category is "cash cow". Now they know which store is doing maximum sales, so they can have clear prediction on revenue and stock turns. The bottom line is - Retailers need a tool which will efficiently help them in decision making within a complex, distributed and big data environment.
This is exactly what SAP Retail has identified and provided to the user. Crisp information in a social and trendy manner using SAP Business Objects based Retail Analytics.