IDC Retail Insights has announced a new report, "Business Strategy: IDC Maturity Model Benchmark – Big Data and Analytics in Retail in North America," which the company says presents the results of the first IDC Retail Insights big data and analytics (BDA) Maturity Benchmark based on a study of 701 organizations including 100 non-food retailers and 100 food retailers and CPG companies.

According to IDC, big data and analytics have become top agenda items for a growing number of retail executives. Yet many retailers do not yet have mature BDA competencies across five critical dimensions — intent, people, process, technology, and data. This study presents benchmark data on the maturity of BDA capabilities of North American retailers, identifies the key capabilities that characterize retailers whose BDA programs have met or exceeded their expectations, and offers detailed guidance for achieving BDA success. In particular:

  • In the broader societal and economic context of data-driven organizational cultures and emerging BDA-enabled business models, BDA will remain one of retail's top investment priorities for the foreseeable future. No stranger to massive, time-sensitive data volumes, retail is at the epicenter of emerging BDA opportunities in enterprise data, social media, digital and mobile advertising, mobile metadata, instrumented store operations, and item-level RFID.
  • Two classes of retailers are emerging, "BDA haves" and "BDA have nots," each comprising about 20 percent of the industry, immediately making BDA a defining basis of retail competitive advantage. With 60 percent falling in the middle, the structure of the retail industry will swing on the BDA capabilities.
  • Retailers should invest in their BDA competencies as there is a positive correlation between BDA maturity and successful outcomes of BDA initiatives. High achievers "skew right" on the maturity curve, while low achievers "skew left." On average, higher levels of BDA maturity lead to better chances of achieving expected or greater-than-expected benefits.
  • Obtaining BDA maturity is a multifaceted endeavor across five core dimensions — intent, people, process, technology, and data. Success depends on the absolute level of maturity in each dimension and on aligning the five dimensions at or near the same level of maturity.
  • The top 10 traits that most distinguish high achievers extend beyond data and technology capabilities, areas that can garner inordinate priority, to include all five dimensions: mature BDA process management, executive leadership, line-of-business (LOB) utilization of BDA insights, collaborative cultures among lines-of-business and analytics groups, and skills in advanced analytics, data and content management, and management of BDA IT hardware.

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