Our colleague, David Dorf, wrote an interesting post at the Insight-Driven Retailing Blog. You might find these insights useful in your industry, especially if you need insight across CRM and other information repositories.
Business Intelligence has really grown up over the last decade. It has expanded beyond simple reporting to include advanced analytics, alerting, forecasting, collaboration, and even knowledge management. For retailers, many of these functions exist within the enterprise, but they are typically not connected and rarely use common semantics.
Working with Chain Store Age, we did a survey to find out where retailers need the most help. The results show that consolidation, consistency, and simplification are the main priorities. Most retailers know they own the data to make the right decisions, but they are frustrated at not being able to easily access that information.
The best approach we've found is to model the data once, in a common information model that is comprehensive to the business. Then there are opportunities to deploy the model in different ways to support different functions. But if you don't have that common information model to begin with, you risk complications.
Oracle provides a common information model across disciplines such as finance, labor, and supply chain for its BI Apps. To that we're adding industry domains like merchandising and banking so its possible to combine ERP and industry data yielding a complete view of the business.
Below are links to more information and an upcoming webinar on the topic.
Webinar: Simplifying Retail BI: How to model once, deploy everywhere, and separate the necessary from the nonsense (Tuesday, April 26, 2011; 2 p.m. ET/ 11 a.m. PT)
Chain Store Age Interview at NRF