Carphone Warehouse uses Android tablets to put MicroStrategy BI tools in the hands of retail staff

By Danny Palmer
10 Jul 2014 View Comments
Carphone Warehouse in Lakeside Essex

Carphone Warehouse has put MicroStrategy's mobile business intelligence tools in the hands of its retail staff via Android tablets, essentially gamifying the sales process in an effort to improve customer service.

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It was three years ago that the mobile device retailer first opted to deploy a BI solution to simplify the process of reporting for its staff, who had found themselves spending too much time managing spreadsheets instead of performing more important tasks, as Paul Scullion, head of business intelligence for Carphone Warehouse explained.

"We had far too many people within the organisation who weren't reporting specialists but were spending their day running their own reports, exporting and manipulating data in Excel spreadsheets rather than doing the job they were recruited to do," he told Computing at the MicroStrategy World 2014 conference in Barcelona.

"When you've got commercial, trading and marketing people who are almost data scientists, it's not an efficient use of their time and we'd rather they were making good decisions over good spreadsheets."

As a result, the firm went through what Scullion described as "an extensive, time-consuming vendor selection process" which saw Carphone Warehouse attracted to MicroStrategy's "out-of-the-box visualisations" and "intuitive design."

"It was apparent in the vendor selection that you didn't need a very strong IT function to build visualisations, you could use the pre-canned visualisations and produce something high quality," he said.

"So for me as a business person rather than an IT person, we wanted to be able to build the dashboards within the BI team rather than having to rely on IT support, so it was that ease of creation which was really appealing to us," Scullion continued, before suggesting that a shared vision with MicroStrategy also played a part in the decision.

"MicroStrategy was really getting into mobile, and being a mobile retailer we wanted to embrace that with a shared view on mobile between our two organisations, which was another big positive."

Scullion told Computing how through use of MicroStrategy BI tools, Carphone Warehouse was able to reduce manual data manipulation across all its departments and bring about a "single version of the truth mantra" to its stock and sales information.

"Whereas before we had the risk of two people with two different spreadsheets with two different numbers in the same meeting, we now drive a single version of the truth through high-quality dashboards," he said.

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