Replacing hunches with hard data

Simon Harrison, Operations Director, explains why DeeperThanBlue, a leading implementer of IBM technologies, has launched a dedicated Analytics Practice to drive clients’ business performance and growth.

See. Plan. Predict.

A historical ‘rear-view mirror’ understanding of your business is fine as far as it goes. You need to see how you've performed to date – and identify where you've under-performed. However, a backwards view isn’t enough on its own. To build a sustainable business, you need to progress on to the next stages of the journey, with well-informed planning and predicting.


It can be argued that in times of economic uncertainty, as at present, it becomes critical to plan and predict those elements of your business that are under your control. Brexit is now only months away and all the signs are that falling customer confidence will lead to reduced spending in 2019. Businesses need to make better informed decisions, which, in turn, will lead to better business outcomes.

Fortunately, DeeperThanBlue’s newly launched Analytics Practice is here to help. We formally opened the practice in July, but we’ve actually been building our analytics capabilities over the last couple of years in response to demand from clients in retail, manufacturing, wholesale & distribution and logistics.

Let me give you a shining example…

Improving controls to deliver a £100 million de-stocking and a springboard for more growth

A leading UK retail chain of sports footwear, apparel and accessories had a history of over-buying, which led to over-stocking and resulted in pressure to clear stock at greatly discounted prices, often below cost.

With a 12-month lead time from ordering to sales, the company’s processes needed to be improved. The efforts of a large team of buyers had to be co-ordinated and prioritised to ensure that the total volume purchased could be efficiently accommodated within the company’s warehouses and retail stores.

Applying IBM technologies to overhaul the retailer’s budgeting and planning department, we connected the data held on multiple systems and broke down silos of information within the business to create a holistic picture, as well as providing much needed integration to the legacy systems.

Now, the buying teams have individual budgets for stockholding and sales targets, and each buying section has co-ordinated goals, with weekly monitoring against a predicted performance. This allows much greater control from a top-down cascaded budget, with the whole team striving to achieve joined-up goals.

As we ensure a flow of improved data quality within our client’s business, we are creating a virtuous circle that continually generates better insight.

In achieving this, we’re enabling our client to save over £10 million on an annual basis. The company is simultaneously increasing its profits and customer satisfaction.

As a consumer, how often have you or a family member been told by store staff that a certain model/colour/size is out of stock because it’s popular, when the money is burning a hole in your pocket?

From the example above, you can see that through better actionable insight that this situation is becoming a thing of the past.

Low risk – fast payback

In today’s challenging operating conditions, our clients want greater control of their business as quickly as possible, and our analytics solutions are designed to take just days to provision rather than months. The aim is to build a regular delivery cycle of low-risk projects that provide a fast payback.

We prioritise clients’ gaps and weaknesses, creating a solution to align with their business and help them get best value. We take into consideration their maturity in the business intelligence space by assessing indicators such as the volume of data, number of users and the complexity of reports.

We also offer a choice of deployments for our analytics solutions: they can be hosted by IBM, hosted in a private cloud or implemented on an on-premise server. In this way, we are well positioned to help clients adopt the latest analytic technologies in a way that suits their in-house IT resources and budget. Their projects aren’t blocked by having to join the IT department’s backlog or wait for capital expenditure approval.

Find out more

Watch our 2-minute animation showing how DeeperThanBlue Analytics can add value to your business by helping you to plan and predict the future – not just see where your business has been in the past.

Just for fun

Find out how we fared when we applied an analytics process on the outcome of each of the 64 matches in this year’s World Cup.

We used some simple predictive techniques, demonstrating how to manage conflicting opinions and how to build trust mathematically in each data source to ‘learn’ which data to trust in predicting match outcomes. Then, for reporting, we took into account factors such as goal track record stretching back to 1930, country population size and even the style of football boot!