Data analytics platform improves IT | IT case study | Guess? | HP



Data analytics platform improves IT | IT case study | Guess? | HP
Case study
Guess?, Inc. threads it together with the help of HP Vertica
Real-time information empowers non-traditional Business Intelligence users
Migrate to a new data analytics platform to improve
IT and business performance and empower
everyone—designers, buyers, planners, and retail
store managers—to serve customers
Implemented HP Vertica data analytics platform and developed an easy-to-use mobile application
IT matters
•Leveraging columnar database performance
inherent in Vertica to reduce the load window by 50 to 62.5%, from 3 to 4 hours on the legacy
platform to 90 minutes at most
•Data analytics platform provides performance,
open architecture and flexibility at a global scale
•Extends analytics to the business front lines via a
visual, easy-to-use mobile application
•Removes the need for archiving of data with the
use of powerful database compression
Business matters
•Better sales tracking due to essential daily store
reports generated 90 to 400 times faster
•Improve merchandise allocation and distribution
of inventory across retail locations due to
complex queries, such as sales for all best-sellers
performed 60 to 80 times faster
•Develop sales promotions based on real-time
affinity and market basket analysis to better
understand consumer purchasing behaviors
“Vertica gives us the flexibility to tackle Big Data. With HP Vertica, our organization is ready for the
challenges retailers are facing—from Big Data to next-generation analytics.”
– Bruce Yen, director, Business Intelligence, Guess?, Inc.
What started in 1981 with a unique jeans design for women has grown into a leading global retailer. Guess?, Inc.,
headquartered in Los Angeles, Calif., has 1,626 stores in 87 countries throughout the U.S., North and South America,
Europe, the Middle East and Asia. The fashion-forward brand, often associated with beautiful models and iconic
advertising imagery, has expanded its product lines beyond
jeans to offer a wide range of apparel and accessories for men, women and children.
Case study | Guess?, Inc.
Guess? has grown significantly in the last
twelve years, particularly internationally,
although North American business still
contributes one-half of the company’s $2.7
billion revenue. Ensuring the fashion retailer’s
continued success is an HP Vertica Analytics
Platform that includes a business analytics
iPad application called , ‘G-Mobile,’ that is
easy to use, even for non-traditional Business
Intelligence (BI) users. The app enables a range
of employees—including designers, buyers,
planners, and allocators—to analyze sales,
inventory and logistical information to better
manage the business in real time.
“Data isn’t scary,” says Bruce Yen, director
of Business Intelligence at Guess?. “We
approached designers and other folks who
typically don’t work with a lot of data, and
we were able to change the way they think
about data. For one thing, we’ve made it cool
and fun by merging the data with images of
“Staff has turned to HP Vertica
for its speed, performance and flexibility. They are not
afraid of large data sets with HP Vertica.”
– Bruce Yen, director, Business Intelligence, Guess?, Inc.
Yen explains that unlike some industries, one
of the challenges in the retail space is having
to process and update large amounts of data
and the frequency that data changes. Having
current sales and inventory information is
critical. For example, store managers usually
meet with their staffs about two hours
before stores open. During these meetings,
employees need up-to-date information
about the prior day’s sales. In the past, Guess?
was dependent on a database platform that
typically took three hours to generate sales
reports, which made it impossible to share
the data with stores on the East Coast before
11:00 a.m. Eastern—too late to be useful at
daily staff meetings.
“As a retailer with a national footprint, we
needed to have information ready for the
stores early, and to do that we needed better
performance,” Yen explains.
Evaluation process leads to HP Vertica
Yen shopped around and looked at three
data analytics vendors including HP Vertica.
“I liked the ground-up approach, and HP
Vertica seemed smarter than the alternatives,”
Yen says. What’s more, Guess? did a
successful Proof of Concept, and the fact that
MicroStrategy partners with HP Vertica also
was viewed favorably.
HP Vertica is the backbone that now powers
all of the BI reporting and analytics at Guess?
in North America, while MicroStrategy is
the front-end. There are more than 800
employees from across the enterprise in North
America who depend on regularly scheduled
ad hoc reports. What’s more, approximately
100 non-traditional BI users now rely on the
Vertica-based G-Mobile app that has proven
extremely useful, whether in the field, during
corporate meetings, or even at home.
With the HP Vertica platform, query speeds
have increased dramatically. As a result, stores
now have the data they need at their morning
meetings. “With HP Vertica it takes only one
to two minutes to generate reports instead of
three hours. It’s huge to be able to move that
time up, to have that information about what
happened yesterday, and to better track sales,”
Yen says.
In addition to store reports, there are myriad
ways Guess? employees are taking advantage
of the data available to them. After conducting
field surveys and shadowing employees, the
company has found that a range of users are
Case study | Guess?, Inc.
enthusiastic about the HP Vertica platform,
including the G-Mobile app. For instance, sales
executives can easily view best-sellers, see
how much inventory there is, and contact
the allocations team to better allocate
merchandise and fine-tune the distribution of
inventory across retail locations.
Some Guess? executives use the G-Mobile
app to generate sales numbers and better
understand how business is performing. A
range of users, including buyers, planners
and allocators rely on ad hoc reports and
the G-Mobile app for near-instant access to
information, such as merchandise planning. On the legacy system, it might have taken
15 to 20 minutes to generate a merchandise
report that now takes only 5 to 20 seconds on the iPad accessing the data remotely.
Visual, easy-to-use
retail data analytics
Many employees, such as planners and
allocators, use the G-Mobile app in stores
to watch the rate at which best-selling
merchandise is moving. When regional
directors travel to stores they discover
opportunities in the data and quickly learn
how the districts are performing. Powered by
Vertica, regional directors can ensure they are
allocating resources appropriately to optimize
employee productivity.
A report generated in only five seconds
gives the company a better understanding
of important consumer purchasing trends.
With Vertica, Guess? can do affinity and
market basket analysis to better understand
consumer purchasing behaviors. This
information can then be used to develop sales
promotions, for instance.
Vertica powers all of the CustomerManagement-Relationship (CRM) analytics and reporting and has been an integral part in better understanding our customer’s
shopping behavior.
Platform powers analytics, Big Data
Guess? finds that it can run complex inventory
queries much more quickly than in the past.
For example, a query with details about size-
level inventory and sales for all best sellers
is now 60 to 80 times faster, taking only 30
seconds compared to 30 to 40 minutes in the
past. With increases in speed, the company is
seeing a shift in the types of questions that are
asked of its data analytics platform. HP Vertica
now allows the retailer to generate more
complex queries, such as inventory analysis
at size-level for all store locations over a twoyear time period. A query of this type would
not have been possible on the legacy platform
and is accomplished on HP Vertica in two to
three minutes.
“I liked the ground-up
approach, and HP Vertica
seemed smarter than the
– Bruce Yen, director, Business Intelligence, Guess?, Inc.
“Detailed inventory tracking is extremely
important in the retail world,” Yen explains.
“Now users ask questions they wouldn’t have
been able to ask before. Vertica is our nextgeneration platform.”
Guess? also found a way to change the way
its employees look at data by tailoring it to
engage specific audiences within the company.
In finance, employees might get a two-tothree page summary report, while clothing
designers now have access to data that is
useful for future design planning.
What’s more, Guess? leverages the columnar
database performance inherent in Vertica,
reducing the load window from 3 to 4 hours
in the past to 60 to 90 minutes. Aside from
better performance and data analysis, Vertica
provides more flexibility than the legacy
system. While Vertica is not designed as a
transactional system, its powerful analytics
on large data sets has been leveraged by other
operational systems. In one instance, Vertica
is used to quickly analyze customer sales and
create customer segmentation—this data is
then fed back to the operational system.
Case study | Guess?, Inc.
“Staff has turned to HP Vertica for its speed,
performance and flexibility. They are not afraid
of large data sets with HP Vertica,” Yen says.
Moving forward, Yen and his team see Vertica’s
ability to scale out serving Guess? well. The
company plans to roll out Vertica to Asia and
Europe in the near future.
“Vertica gives us the flexibility to tackle Big
Data,” Yen concludes. “With Vertica, our
organization is ready for the challenges
retailers are facing—from Big Data to nextgeneration analytics.”
Customer at a glance
Enterprise Software—Analytic Database Management
•HP Vertica Analytics Platform
•MicroStrategy 9.2
•Red Hat Enterprise Linux
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© Copyright 2013 Hewlett-Packard Development Company, L.P. The information contained herein is subject to change without notice. The only
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4AA4-6267ENW, April 2013