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How Tesco is diving into the data lake

An effective big data analytics solution is now an essential requirement for any large business that wishes to be successful in today’s competitive environment, regardless of what sector they are in.

However, one part of the economy that particularly benefits from big data analytics is retail. These firms have a longstanding tradition of gathering and utilizing customer data, so the ability to gain greater insight from the information they already have will play a key role in their decision-making. Furthermore, to conduct deep analysis of customer behavior and purchases and try to spot trends, retailers may need to analyse every basket, on every till, in every store, in every town, in every country in which they do business, over a specified period of time – which could lead to billions of rows of data.

One company that has always been at the forefront understanding its customers is UK supermarket Tesco. It was noted by Forbes that the company was one of the first brands to track customer activity through the use of its loyalty cards, which allows it to perform activities such as delivering personalized offers.

Tesco is focused on building the right data infrastructure to serve its needs for the future including a move from traditional data warehousing to using Hadoop as their data lake framework. In this Information Age article, it explains that Tesco has centralized their Hadoop framework so that teams across different parts of the business can derive insights from the data no matter where the store location is around the world. The company is also turning to artificial intelligence in order to stay competitive against the threat to grocery retailers from online giant Amazon.

The Information Age article explains how retailers are using big data and machine learning to see how customers actually shop and purchase goods so they can adapt their sales and marketing efforts to meet customers’ needs and expectations. The article goes on to say how Tesco wants to find out what buying behaviors take place before individual products are purchased and which products are purchased together.

Kognitio is familiar with need for speed of decision-making in the retail sector having worked closely with loyalty and retail analytics clients such as Inmar and Aimia. Inmar provides a retail analytics portal to retailers so that they can analyze coupon data. This portal was made possible by using Kognitio as the SQL analytical platform on their Hadoop cluster. Other platforms couldn’t compete with the same speed of querying, nor cope with the high concurrency of users that would be using the service. You can read more about the Inmar use case here.

This post was originally published in November 2016 and has been updated for freshness, accuracy and comprehensiveness.

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