Retail Times

EXASOL helps Atheon Analytics power faster, data-driven decisions for 400 FMCG brands and UK supermarkets

Published on 21/08/2017 by Fiona Briggs in Manufacturer news, Retail News, Retail Technology, Retailer News
EXASOL has announced that Atheon Analytics, the big data retail analytics consultancy that works with more than 400 FMCGs and all major supermarkets in the UK, has now completed the move of its entire SKUtrak platform’s analytical infrastructure onto EXASOL. This has delivered superior reliability and analytic performance, dramatically speeding up access to granular and visual data insights for FMCG and grocery. The improvements this brings SKUtrak has resulted in increased collaboration between grocery and their suppliers, empowering them with the ability to make faster, better decisions in areas such as the supply chain, forecasting and promotions. Ultimately this delivers a better customer experience to shoppers, while reducing working capital and increasing profits.

FMCG brands and retailers generate enormous amounts of data each day and Atheon Analytics has billions of rows of this data under management. This means they not only need the fastest database to help them deliver the best insights to their clients, but they also require superior reliability, concurrency and scalability.

Using EXASOL, Atheon Analytics has dramatically reduced the time to on-board new clients and can now offer a better service to existing clients. One example of this is Müller: with its 45 million rows of data Atheon Analytics wasn’t able to load Müller’s whole dataset into its previous SQL Server database, so had to use aggregated data which meant extra work and lost insights.

Atheon Analytics also struggled with concurrency at peak times before EXASOL was introduced: if 30 queries were requested, only three could run in SQL Server. This is no longer an issue, which creates peace of mind for Atheon Analytics and a first-class service for its clients. The implementation has also delivered significant cost savings by reducing overheads. Now Atheon Analytics can focus its time on SKUtrak’s product development rather than on database administration tasks.

Supermarkets are being pushed to be more transparent with their supply chains. Legislation known as Groceries Supply Code of Practice (GSCOP) encourages the principle of fair dealing, and as a result, supermarkets are becoming more open with their data. However conversely, grocers expect their suppliers to be well-informed and to work towards the mutually beneficial goal of increased sales. This means they need an understanding of who their ultimate consumers are. Retailers often classify their stores by local demographic data but Atheon Analytics’ intelligent algorithms can highlight which stores don’t behave as expected and recommend suppliers adjust accordingly.

An example of this was the insight gained in a local supermarket in Stratford. Demographically, the borough of Newham is classed as deprived but the Stratford store had several anomalies. One such anomaly was the outperformance of almond milk. It was found that due to its proximity to Westfield shopping centre, and its relatively wealthy transient population, the Stratford store behaved as if it were in an affluent area.

Guy Cuthbert, managing director, Atheon Analytics says: “To be able to derive insights like this we need the most granular data at SKU level, however we were experiencing a log-jam with our SQL database that was holding us back. By speeding up reporting times and increasing concurrency, we have been able to deliver the best data insights, at speed, to our customers. In turn, they are able to use their data to its full potential and build better relationships with their own customers. This ultimately helps them make the decisions to increase profitability in a highly competitive and tight-margined marketplace.”

Atheon Analytics is also looking towards artificial intelligence to make better predictions and to move down the supply chain. Cuthbert continues: “With the power we have in EXASOL, we now want to improve our decisions and become more forward-looking by integrating technology such as artificial intelligence into our solutions. We want to ensure our supply chain insights are as good for fresh as they are for ambient with many weeks of lead time.”

Callum Harrison