Business Intelligence and Inventory a Case Study of Dicks Sporting Goods

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Date Submitted: 02/28/2012 10:44 PM

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Business Intelligence and Inventory: A Case Study of Dick’s Sporting Goods

Weekend warriors and fitness fanatics alike can find all their gear at Dick's Sporting Goods. But until the retailer revamped how it analyzes its product lines, building and tracking reports for sales and inventory took a marathoner's effort.

Until 2003, the company relied on merchandise management software that tracked inventory for its stores and distribution points. The software could compile sales figures for athletic gear and clothing into a report, but it couldn't aggregate and drill down, for instance, on how products were being sold and stored in different regions, according to Miles Mewherter, vice president of application development and enterprise reporting. Beyond that, Dick's had no single repository where reports and figures were kept, says Mark Schroer, the chain's director of enterprise business intelligence and reporting. Instead, employees kept their own sales and inventory analyses, derived from the merchandising system, within their own business units and often on their own computers. There was no standard formatting of sales and inventory reports. And the company hadn't put in place any format for naming reports, so some were lost by the people who had created the reports because they couldn't remember the file names, Schroer says. Still, employees insisted on using the system, shunning attempts by information-technology managers to push tools from Cognos, a maker of business intelligence software, which helps companies mine, analyze and report corporate data. "They were used to it," Mewherter says of the merchandising system. And since Dick's didn't set up a formal training program, users found it easy to ignore the new tools, he adds. To move toward standardizing reports, the team at Dick's decided to build a data warehouse a single repository to store all of the company's sales and inventory statistics with an Oracle database. The chain then deployed business...