IBM Unveils Advanced Analytics Portfolio to Address Retail Challenges

IBM has announced the availability of the IBM Retail Performance Analytics (RPA) portfolio of solutions that address complex information-based business problems across retail enterprises. The portfolio combines infrastructure products, business intelligence/performance management software, and consulting services to help retailers plan, manage, and optimize their businesses.

The infrastructure portion of the solution includes the Infosphere Balanced Data Warehouse running on IBM Power Systems servers, InfoSphere DataStage for ETL processes to load the data warehouse, and a retail-specific data model upon which the warehouse is built. The software is comprised of various modules within the IBM Cognos 8 Business Intelligence Platform that have been designed specifically for the retail industry (e.g., retail scorecards; financial workbench; store operational plans; analytic capabilities; event notifications). Additionally, this platform contains performance blueprints/templates (also known as accelerators) that help retailers build out their analytical models for such key processes as inventory planning, merchandising, advertising & promotions, and store development.

In the category of consulting services, IBM has launched a dedicated Retail Performance Analytics Services practice with leaders in the Americas, Europe, and Asia Pacific. This team will focus on delivering the integrated portfolio of solutions to address the full spectrum of retailing challenges including customer loyalty, price optimization, supply chain optimization, vendor performance, store planning, promotion management, financial performance management, and more.

"RPA combines the Cognos portfolio of business intelligence and performance management software with deep industry consulting and systems integration expertise brought to the client with accelerators and templates which allow IBM to deliver business-transforming solutions retailers need to succeed in today's challenging economy," Jim Zalles, senior managing consultant, retail practice, for IBM Global Services, tells 5 Minute Briefing.

The entire solution is modular, with each infrastructure, software, and service component individually orderable and designed to complement each other if multiple components are purchased. For the IBM Cognos software solutions that are part of RPA, go here. For the IBM Global Services Retail Consulting Practice, go here.