The retail executives who spoke at CDAO Fall Virtual say demand for data-driven capabilities soared over the past 18 months. But many retailers are still in the early stages of their journeys to data maturity
Some technology companies and firms in the financial sector are experimenting with moving away from centralized data functions and creating cross-functional teams embedded in business units. But the stories speakers at CDAO Fall Virtual shared suggest that retail businesses generally have not yet reached this stage of their data journeys.
“The organizational structure has to evolve around our ability to support [business] needs,” said Raj Yakkali, VP, Data and Analytics at fashion brand Reformaiton. “We came up with the thought process of interconnecting both data and analytics together, where we are looking at both defensive strategies and offensive strategies in one big bucket.”
“At some other organizations, you may want to break it up by the business functions, as well,” he continued. “Each business function may have different objectives in itself.”
For Sean MacCarthy, Executive Director Global Analytics and Store Segmentation, Claire’s; the key thing for retailers at the start of their data journeys is to ensure their data functions are separated from their IT functions and given the autonomy to drive their strategies forward.
“If you don’t have the data ecosystems housed under the people who actually have to solve the business problems from a data science and analytics perspective, oftentimes you find a lot of problems,” he said. “It’s too driven like an IT organization. It’s not scrappy and quick enough to respond to changing business needs.”