Case studies


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Data is changing retail. Over the past 20 years, retailers and suppliers have gathered more information on consumer habits than would ever have been thought possible.

AIMIA, a global leader in loyalty management, has been at the heart of that change. Through their AIMIA Self Serve platform, they put the insight from that data directly in the hands of their customers; household-name retailers and the suppliers behind well-loved brands.

Kognitio’s analytical platform is at the heart of AIMIA Self Serve. Read on to find out how Kognitio has helped AIMIA and their customers find the insight in big data.

From days to seconds

AIMIA has been at the forefront of loyalty marketing since the 1960s. Best known in the UK for their Nectar card program, in the US for their Carlson Marketing division and in Canada for the Aeroplan loyalty scheme, AIMIA has changed how retailers and suppliers gain insight into consumer behavior.

In the past, analyzing consumer behavior was slow moving and required some compromises in accuracy. Legacy systems couldn’t handle the volume and velocity of data generated, meaning analysis would take place on sample subsets of data. Even then, results could take days to return.

AIMIA set out to build a near real-time system that would operate across entire datasets and return statistically sound results in seconds rather than days. With a conventional database, that would be impossible.

Jaw-dropping performance

Following an extensive PoC, AIMIA selected Kognitio to do what those traditional data query engines could not. Here’s what Fiachra Woodman, the VP of AIMIA’s Global Labs, had to say on why they selected Kognitio:

“Kognitio demonstrates absolutely jaw-dropping performance and is backed up by real IT professionals with a passion for what they do and how they do it. They blew the socks off the competition in the POC, delivered ahead of schedule and have been an absolute joy to work with from start to finish.”

With Kognitio behind the scenes, AIMIA created Self Serve: a web-based product that enables retailers and their suppliers to analyze the full breadth of retail point-of-sale data in seconds and with confidence that the breadth of data coverage means that the results are statistically sound.

The first instance of Self Serve was up and running at a major UK supermarket chain in less than a week, with Kognitio directly querying their data warehouse. One query that previously took five hours was reduced to just two minutes and most queries ran in near real-time, enabling “train-of-thought” analysis and predictive analytics that previously would have been too impractical to run.

For Peter Gleason, President of International Operations at AIMIA’s Cardlytics subsidiary, Kognitio made Self Serve into a world changer:

“Thanks to Kognitio we are now getting results in faster than ever before; prior to seeing Kognitio in action, we would have thought this to be impossible. This level of retail analysis gives us a leading edge over our competitors; Kognitio is a disruptive force for good.”

What’s next

Self-Serve, powered by Kognitio, is now in use more than 75 consumer goods suppliers and dozens of retailers across the world. At each client, hundreds of complex reports can be run in parallel across terabytes of data held in memory. Whether it’s understanding which promotions will work best for different individual customers, comparing the performance of product lines in different location, or predicting future behavior, Self Serve is helping retailers and suppliers to better understand where to direct their resources in the battle to retain their most profitable customers and beat the competition.

For AIMIA’s Fiachra Woodman, there’s just one more thing he wants from Kognitio:

“When Kognitio hands back the answer before we’ve thought of the question, we’ll be satisfied. Until then we remain ecstatic.”