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M&S turns to predictive analytics to keep shelves stocked over Christmas

10/12/2014 by Sharon Shahzad


High street retailer Marks & Spencer is claiming major improvements in its ability to keep the shelves of its outlets stocked with the right products following an under-the-radar project to introduce sophisticated predictive analytics technology.

The project will play a key role in helping the supermarket ensure its stores are stocked with enough mince pies and turkeys to avoid disappointed customers over Christmas.

The company, which reported its first increase in profits in four years in November 2014, has begun using predictive analytics to manage its suppliers more effectively and to ensure that smaller outlets receive the widest possible range of goods.

What began as a back-room project to test software that can convert complex sales and customer data into graphical images that business executives can understand is now beginning to drive boardroom decisions.

“We started to see that when we demonstrated live data to people of that level who were digitally engaged, they would want to make decisions on the spot,” said Pete Williams, head of enterprise analytics at M&S.


May 2012

Pete Williams, head of enterprise analytics at M&S, saw a demo of Spotfire at an analytics conference and was impressed by its capabilities

February 2013

M&S began trials of Spotfire visualisation and discovery tool

The company trained analysts for four days using 10 Spotfire licences

The team identified proof-of-concept use cases, including a supplier portal

First results demonstrated in four weeks

June 2013

M&S developed a prototype supplier portal and tested it with two suppliers for eight months

August 2013

M&S tripled its Spotfire licences to meet growing demand

November 2013

M&S bought an enterprise agreement for unlimited use of Spotfire

January 2014

M&S opened up its supplier portal to a wider range of suppliers

February 2014

M&S began a proof-of-concept trial using Hadoop and Spotfire to analyse customer survey responses

November 2014

M&S created a business intelligence strategy function, reporting to the CFO

Marks & Spencer began rolling out data visualisation software, which allows business professionals with little IT experience to analyse complex datasets, throughout the business in February 2013.

This article has been extracted from, please click on this link to read the article in full asrc=EM_MDN_37399471&utm_medium=EM&utm_source=MDN&utm_campaign=20141210_

Montash is a multi-award winning global technology recruitment business. Specialising in permanent and contract positions across mid-senior appointments across a wide range of industry sectors and IT functions, including:

ERP, BI & Data, Information Security, IT Architecture & Strategy, Energy Technology, Demand IT and Business Engagement, Digital and E-commerce, Leadership Talent, Infrastructure and Service Delivery, Project and Programme Delivery.

Montash is headquartered in Old Street, London, in the heart of the technology hub. Montash has completed assignments in over 30 countries and has appointed technical professionals from board level to senior and mid management in permanent and contract roles.


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