I had the opportunity last week to visit PivotLink in the Bellevue, Washington, office that houses the company’s development team and marketing leadership to see its software. After taking the helm a little more than a year ago and putting a new team in place, CEO Bruce Armstrong has positioned the company above the fray of the crowded business intelligence software set. The company has smartly moved into the retail space with user-friendly tools that should appeal to mid-tier retailers and where its historical success had been in the market. Building on my earlier analysis on PivotLink and its advancement into analytics and cloud computing but I will assess its software and efforts to help the retail industry.
As we’ve discussed recently, marketing in retail environments is becoming more sophisticated thanks to forces such as cloud applications and shoppers’ mobile devices. This in turn is driving demand for a new class of analytics and technology to help with marketing optimization, attribution modeling, churn and share-of-wallet analytics, and merchandising analytics.
PivotLink addresses these challenges through software as a service (SaaS). Our recent benchmark research on business data in the cloud indicates that companies are increasingly adopting SaaS-based products across all lines of business.
PivotLink’s RetailMETRIX provides 30 prebuilt reports and 60 best-in-class metrics that allow marketers to start using the tool right away. Some of its primary uses are to identify underperforming products or brands within a portfolio and to understand causal elements. This allows marketers to better anticipate customer demand and gives visibility into current trends in the supply chain.
Customer PerformanceMETRIX allows marketers to perform a range of analytics through user-friendly drill-downs, thereby producing ad hoc customer segmentations and enabling attribution and RFM analysis. Customer PerformanceMETRIX also integrates with third-party marketing systems to let users optimize campaigns against a particular merchandising strategy, then feed back the results into the PivotLink system in a closed loop process.
DataCLOUD provides data enrichment services by attaching customer-level data such as household demographics and psychographics. It can take into account big data sources such as social media data, including product-level and store-level reviews, as well as traffic and weather patterns. Such information is becoming more important in retail analytics as it allows businesses to assess the causes behind store-level performance.
PivotLink also provides mobile analytics with native capabilities for Apple and Android tablets. In our benchmark research on information applications, 51 percent of participants said broader access to information on mobile technologies is important or very important. In addition, our soon to be released benchmark on next generation of business intelligence that shows that many organizations use a broad spectrum of mobile devices. Users want all the capabilities inherent in those devices, which are available via native applications. Mobile capabilities should also appeal to PivotLink’s core constituency of retail customers, who often spend many hours out of the office traveling to various locations and suppliers.
PivotLink is in a position to capitalize on the changing environment for retail analytics. With most companies still using personal productivity tools to do their analysis, a turnkey SaaS solution with a low investment barrier makes a lot of sense in terms of time-to-value (TTV). Right now market momentum is shifting to cloud-based applications but there are still very few pure-play cloud-based retail analytics vendors. PivotLink must move quickly into this space before other cloud technology players seize the opportunity or larger players start to move downstream to make a heavier push into the mid-tier retail analytics space. I encourage retailers that are still doing analytics in spreadsheets to take a closer look at PivotLink and its approach to business analytics.