Data is a vital asset for any retail or CPG firm. The ability to effectively manage, utilize and drive meaningful insights from this data will determine who wins and who loses in the market. This blog summarizes a recent podcast that focused on this topic, featuring Scott Jennings, Informatica’s chief strategist for retail and CPG.The conversation began with a discussion of the foundational processes that must be part of the “go forward” plan for any retailer or CPG firm. Mr. Jennings noted, “Both retailers and consumer products companies are going to want to use data to build data-centric solutions. These solutions are employed by companies to test processes, learn from results and then understand how they can best engage their customer at the right moment in the customer journey. The fuel for all these initiatives is customer data. And of course, this sounds great. And on the surface, it appears that all you need to do to win is have good customer data. However, it’s not that simple. “The challenge is that with large retailers and CPG companies, data is everywhere. Incomplete or incorrect data feeds do more harm than good. Finding and organizing data is central to leveraging it. “Organizations must get customer information and interactions right. This requires a holistic process that is continually evolving via the test and learning approach. Continual refinement of the digital systems is necessary.” Effectively using data is not simply about technology — there is also the “human element.” The success of these digital systems is reliant on those operating them. Mr. Jennings continued, “I was once told that retail selling is a transfer of energy. You want to be able to transfer your energy and enthusiasm to the customer. I think the same is true with your employees. You want to create a transfer of energy with your employees to help them stay on top of trends. A notable example is the buzz around large language models and generative AI. “Wouldn't you like to be able, as an employee, to utilize the right algorithms to be more successful? Or as a customer, to have vastly better shopping experiences? For example, building a system to create visually searchable product descriptions quickly using generative AI is a potential winner. This approach is a key trend in the fashion industry. However, everything starts with effective information that supports the entire process. I think getting the people engaged and empowered with data is the difference between 20 years ago and today.” Informatica is enabling this trend with their Intelligent Data Management Cloud™ for Retail and CPG, an end-to-end data management platform that acts as the unifying force for making data the currency of your organization. For more information on how you can create a data platform that gives your organization an edge, visit www.informatica.com/retail.