- MicroStrategy BI platform uses data updated four times every hour
- Reporting dashboards enable continuous insights across the business
- Simple to build and refine reports for detailed drill down and immediate queries
- Strong management adoption drives uptake and improves team productivity
- Knowledge transfer by Theta results in a savvy in-house BI team
As a retailer with multiple channels and stores in multiple countries, Kathmandu identified in 2011 that a sophisticated business intelligence system was required to cope with the information requirements for the business.
Kathmandu was implementing sales tools like online sign-up to purchase immediately, or scanning a QR code in store to redeem a special offer. This functionality was beyond the legacy systems which could not cope with the demands of omni-channel management across different time zones, and the need for real-time customer records and store reports. Priorities included timeliness and accurate data management with a ‘single source of truth’.
With two business intelligence projects under his belt already, CIO Grant Taylor knew the benefits of BI, and the common pitfalls to avoid.
“I liked how MicroStrategy offers reference-able data, and it has good functionality. Implementing business intelligence in the business was a critical initial step, which solved the problem of disparate legacy systems reporting on various aspects of the business, and provided us with a common view.” Grant Taylor, CIO, Kathmandu
Taylor jokes that his goal was to eliminate CRUD (create, read, update, delete) completely, with a BI solution that would replicate any changes across the system quickly.
The business intelligence solution
Kathmandu chose the MicroStrategy BI platform to give executives an ‘at-a-glance view’ of the business; and with CEO Peter Halkett leading the way, user adoption has been rapid.
With mobile roll-out through iPads for all Kathmandu executives, managers have quickly become competent, heavy users of the MicroStrategy business intelligence software, enjoying access to accurate, timely data.
Management meetings are more productive, as managers arrive with the numbers ready on their iPad dashboards. Rather than debating figures, the team can immediately get to work making sound decisions based on the data shown in the common platform.
Information is available on a ‘scoreboard at your fingertips’, providing instant insight into store performance, top selling products, how weather is affecting daily sales, customer behavior trends and more.
“In our world, an hour is a long time. Our entire executive team is using MicroStrategy BI on iPad and it has become our go-to app. MicroStrategy gives us colourful, rich information that we can drill through and query immediately.” Grant Taylor, CIO, Kathmandu
BI users at all levels of the organisation can build and refine customised reports and BI dashboards, and use these to drill down to further information like area sales, store performance, sales by till or to individual transactions for detailed insight and trend analysis.
“With the self-service BI dashboard reporting, my IT team no longer spends their days producing endless reports. Users can pull in different data sets themselves and make decisions quickly.” Grant Taylor, CIO, Kathmandu
The business intelligence project
We hooked MicroStrategy business intelligence into Kathmandu’s data warehouse, providing access to data on all store sales, product line performance and customer behavior – refreshed every 15 minutes.
During the pilot phase we demonstrated the power of business intelligence dashboards to inform decision making at all levels of the organisation. This demonstrated the value of the BI project to all stakeholders, ensuring early buy-in, and giving managers a reason to get ‘hands on’ as quickly as possible.
We created a customised transaction receipt format in the system, so an actual receipt for any past sales transactions can be accessed quickly by searching by payment information, store or date through MicroStrategy.
Kathmandu took to the new software rapidly and with training quickly became largely self-sufficient. A group of in-house experts are now developing business intelligence solutions using the agile MicroStrategy software.
“Theta provided a pretty transparent engagement. They told us how it was straight up, and gave us advice on which areas of the broad MicroStrategy platform we should focus on. Their staff worked alongside us, providing a knowledge transfer that empowered our in-house team to utilise and customise the BI System.” Grant Taylor, CIO, Kathmandu
“It is inspiring to work with a company that can see the benefits of business intelligence from the start. Because of this insight, and the fast uptake of the new BI tool within the business, Kathmandu saw results very quickly.” Chris Lines, Relationship Manager, Theta
The rigour of the MicroStrategy solution gives Kathmandu a robust and trusted source of information.
“BI has become a core system. MicroStrategy is part of our long-term business intelligence journey, and through the large scale changes we have planned our current BI system will remain in place.” Grant Taylor, CIO, Kathmandu
In 1987 Kathmandu’s ﬁrst store opened in Hardware Lane in central Melbourne, followed by its first New Zealand store in Christchurch in 1991. Throughout the nineties Kathmandu remained a small specialist outdoor retailer. However, enthusiasm for the company’s innovative products was clearly growing, leading to the launch of the Summit Club loyalty program in 1994.
Kathmandu has now grown to become a leading international retailer of clothing and equipment for travel and adventure. Over 1500 team members now work in over a hundred stores, distribution centres and offices spread throughout Australia, New Zealand and the UK. In November 2009, Kathmandu became a publicly listed business on the Australia and New Zealand Stock Exchanges. For more see www.kathmandu.co.nz.