Agilence: Envisioning Data Driven Retail Transformation

Russ Hawkins, President & CEO The retail industry today emanates a wealth of information in the form of structured and unstructured data, at an accelerating pace and volume. It’s both a boon and bane for retailer IT teams, who are responsible for helping their organizations leverage these datasets to improve profits, reduce costs and eliminate inefficiencies. Although data analytics engines have been available to generate business intelligence for years, the extreme composition and velocity of today’s big data necessitates new approaches and flexible tools. By automating the identification of anomalies, providing a wide range of mathematical and statistical analysis functions and by making every user a super user, New Jersey-based Agilence has found a unique way for organizations to get value out of their data resulting in better, faster decisions, happier customers and improved revenues and profits.

Agilence’s 20/20 Data Analytics™ platform integrates data sets from a wide variety of sources including transaction logs, back office systems and even cameras, cell phones and store based sensors to give retailers and restaurant operators all their data in one place. Automated analysis of the resulting database allows users to see relevant aspects of their data at a granular, easy-to-read level, causing hidden issues and trends to stand out. As these patterns are identified, role specific dashboards and targeted prescriptive alerts allow managers to focus their precious attention on where opportunities and challenges are likely to provide the most benefits to the organization.

Through the 20/20 Data Analytics platform, executives can take a closer look at employees or locations that are performing above or below the norm. Russ Hawkins, President and CEO of Agilence, says, “Our 20/20 suite for retail and restaurants can automatically report on upsell sales statistics for all cashiers, wait staff and locations.” This analysis allows operators to immediately identify those cashiers who are consistently meeting upsell objectives by offering socks with shoes or guacamole with fajitas as well as those that have to improve their performance. Retailers and restaurateurs can also use 20/20 to ensure promotions are processed correctly, negative value transactions are monitored and that chain policies are being followed 100 percent of the time. As a result, management can be sure that all team members are using their time well and concentrating on high impact opportunities for improvement.

Doing More With Less

Agilence has designed its product by keeping a close eye on growing trends, while collaborating with CIOs in order to recognize prevalent bottlenecks. “CIOs are being asked to do more with less,” states Hawkins. With social media and mobile apps now in the picture, CIOs are drowning in an ocean of data, unable to easily use the available data to navigate their companies towards growth and success.

Our 20/20 suite for retail and restaurants can automatically report on upsell sales statistics for all cashiers, wait staff and locations

“They have to assimilate large amounts of data and maximize the value of these datasets by offering predictive and proactive analytics tools to the users who need to make front line business decisions,” he adds.

20/20 Data Analytics was developed with a systematic approach to assist with these challenges. As a SaaS solution, the platform requires little ongoing support from IT departments after data access is in production. The platform can integrate all of the data sources within an organization’s environment, becoming a single repository for the entire dataset. “It allows every manager in the organization to identify and keep track of atypical patterns or behaviors without requiring any ongoing IT team intervention,” says Hawkins. By partnering with companies like Agilence, CIOs can keep their focus on adding business value and truly ‘do more with less’.

Apart from being easy to manage for CIOs, 20/20 assists in curbing inventory shrinkage, increasing revenue margins, and improving the decision making capabilities of every employee up to and including CEOs. “Our solutions can specifically pinpoint which operations are doing well and which need new strategies to move forward,” says Hawkins. “Every function that falls under the corporate umbrella—customer acquisition and loyalty, associate performance, operations, marketing, finance—can be analyzed by 20/20,” he adds. Actionable information is automatically distributed to responsible store, district, and regional managers, as well as senior executives, a benefit that the majority of others fail to provide. “We are making everyone a power user as 20/20 can easily be used by anyone,” adds Hawkins.

The most important data source captured by 20/20 is the transaction log, or TLOG. The TLOG is the aggregation of all transaction activity that has taken place across each store in a single day. “This includes any scanned items, credit card or loyalty card impressions, keyed items or a manager overrides—everything is captured on a daily basis and compiled in the TLOG,” says Hawkins. In addition, 20/20 typically brings associate, product and store information together, which allows executives to make better strategic decisions to increase efficiencies, ensure corporate policy compliance and drive sales. The solution has the ability to incorporate e-commerce data for those retailers with both online stores and brick and mortar facilities—allowing 20/20 customers to capitalize on their omnichannel footprint across the entire industry.

Staying Close to Their Roots

Many notable retail organizations have chosen 20/20 to improve front end operations and bring efficiency across all of their operations. Agilence clients include clothing stores, specialty retailers, grocers, pharmacies, stadiums, fine dining establishments and quick service restaurants.
“Our success is defined by the successes of our customers. Spanning a variety of industries, 20/20 is flexible enough to improve the operations of our diverse clientele,” adds Hawkins.

"We are making everyone a power user as 20/20 can easily be used by anyone"

For one customer, 20/20 proved to be a great solution to boost sales during holiday seasons. “The customer ramps up the business seasonally and conducts business through hundreds of pop-up outlets in the fall. They chose 20/20 so that they can scale up and down as per their needs while maintaining great data continuity year over year,” highlights Hawkins. 20/20 performed above and beyond what the client has expected, integrating all stores and empowering the management team to make the right decisions at the right time. In another instance, a major wholesale customer was grappling with fraudulent cash transactions before it came to Agilence. “A lot of its contractors were claiming losses on damaged or missing goods that were delivered to them,” adds Hawkins. 20/20 compared the client’s sales transactions against the shipping manifests to ensure the right products were actually shipped. At the same time, the solution allowed management to assess the legitimacy of the claims made by contractors.

Behind the success of Agilence and its solutions, lies the proficiency of a diligent team that includes software developers, customer success representatives, and sales and marketing professionals supporting customers across North America. As the leader of Agilence, Hawkins endeavors to bring the best people on board who have real-life experience relative to the challenges and opportunities in the e-commerce and brick and mortar retail sector. “Together, we are building database and data analytics solutions to solve the real-world problems of retailers,” says Hawkins.

Keeping a resilient team under its roof has played an important role for Agilence in order to bring unique perspectives to the client’s challenges. This approach will consistently make a huge impact on organizations in the future as retailers will continue to deal with the escalation of unprecedented volumes of data. Moving forward, Agilence plans to expand its footprint in other industries such as manufacturing, banking and healthcare where its technology can provide value. Regardless of the industry, Agilence will remain close to its roots; empowering organizations to identify unusual patterns, improve operations, and capitalize on sales opportunities.


Mount Laurel, NJ

Russ Hawkins, President & CEO

A provider of data analytics, reporting solutions, and loss prevention solutions for retail and food and beverage operations