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Retail and Hospitality

Microsoft on big data at NRF

Retailers today face growing challenges extracting business value from their data. First, the relentless growth of data continues, due to the proliferation of new devices and sensors, and rapidly declining hardware cost. Second, data complexity is increasing as retailers store both structured data in relational format and unstructured data.

Microsoft’s vision is to provide business insights to all users from any data, including insights previously hidden in unstructured data. Microsoft provides a range of solutions to help customers address big data challenges. Its family of data warehouse solutions from Microsoft SQL Server, SQL Server Fast Track Data Warehouse, Business Data Warehouse and SQL Server Parallel Data Warehouse offer a robust and scalable platform for storing and analysing data in a traditional data warehouse.

At NRF this year, Microsoft is showcasing partner solutions that build on its big data platform and enable retailers to deliver better customer experiences through right product, right price, right time and right place. Some of the solutions being showcased in booth 1005 at NRF include:

Retail Insight will be showcasing its on shelf availability solution. Retailers invest enormous sums in stores, product distribution/ranging and customer marketing, but ultimately the end game is to have the right products, at the right price, in the right place at the right time. Regardless of the root cause for out of stock, products that are not on the shelf cannot be bought by the customer. Working with some of the largest retailers in the world, Retail Insight software is able to provide almost real time insight into product availability by taking a retailer’s electronic point of sale data feed and returning alerts and scores to stores for intervention and revenue capture. For those retailers that can deliver intra-day feeds they can maintain higher levels of item availability matched to valuable customer traffic thus improving satisfaction, growing loyalty and life time value.

Digital Folio’s Retail Intelligence Data API is the next-generation competitive intelligence network, powered by the crowd, that delivers real-time visibility to retail dynamic pricing data, inventory levels, channel availability and zip-level local intelligence. Already consisting of over five billion retail pricing data points, and thousands more generated every hour, the data is also publicly accessible through Windows Azure DataMarket and via Microsoft’s Excel add-in.

Esri’s Geospatial Analytics Solution enables retailers to select store locations based on sales data as well as demographic data. Demographic analysis is the basis for many business functions: customer service, site analysis, and marketing. Understanding your customers and their socioeconomic and purchasing behaviour is essential to making good business decisions.

This was taken from the Microsoft blog post Microsoft & Big Data @ NRF13.

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