Atheon Analytics uses EXASOL’s in-memory analytic database to bring UK retailers and suppliers better insights


Atheon Analytics, the specialist retail analytics consultancy working with some of the UK’s largest retailers and suppliers, has chosen EXASOL, the fast in-memory analytic database, to power its clients’ data visualisations. As a result, Atheon Analytics now benefits from superior analytic performance to speed up the visual data insights it provides to retailers and suppliers, which in turn helps them make informed business decisions with more speed and ease than ever before.

By visualising vast data sets, Atheon Analytics helps its clients to process complex information quickly.  The data can then be understood across the entire business, providing greater accessibility to more accurate decisions.  The visualisations also enable greater collaboration between Atheon Analytics clients, suppliers and partners providing a shared understanding of performance.

Data visualisation provides powerful insights into all areas of a retailer’s business, from what products it should sell in particular locations, to how much they need to stock. Data visualisations arms retailers with real-time information to ensure opportunities are spotted and operations are improved. For example, stores will be able to learn from previous Christmas trading periods in time for this year so they know which popular party foods to stock and when production of cream cakes in-store should be reduced by a certain percentage to make way for more mince pies.

However, unprecedented growth in the amount of data retailers and suppliers has made it difficult for many technologies to cope with the vast amounts of data and information in a responsive way, especially in such a dynamic and competitive market as retail. A back-end analytic database system that would unearth valuable data insights in real-time is needed, and one that complements front-end visualisations in Tableau.

Atheon Analytics started with EXASOL’s free community edition of the database, which users can freely download and use to load their own data, run their own analytic queries and conduct their own preliminary “proof of concept” projects.  Atheon Analytics put EXASOL through its paces by taking 250m rows of trading data from a large supermarket, and  found it was able to quickly explore the food business for six months, specifically looking at statistics around waste reduction and stock control.  

Guy Cuthbert, managing director, Atheon Analytics said: “EXASOL is the responsive, highly capable analytic database engine we need, and we have now moved to the commercial version to explore and manipulate data at much higher speeds for our clients. We were able to get it up and running within an hour and we were loading data and content into it within minutes.  The key feature for us is that it is simple to use; we can load data quickly and generate results for our clients extremely fast.  In today’s highly competitive retail world, it’s incredibly important that businesses can understand and analyse their data as quickly as possible in order to gain the greatest advantage and stay ahead of the competition.”

In the near future, by using the commercial edition for the consulting arm of the business, Atheon Analytics will be able to support its retail and grocery supplier clients such as Sainsbury’s and Morrisons, through its SaaS offering, known as SKUtrak. Data is collected every day from big supermarkets and suppliers to monitor performance of products. Once fully embedded, the flexible solution from EXASOL will mean more data can be added to this service and more granular analyses can be run, including performance per product in each individual store.  

Aaron Auld, CEO, EXASOL, said: “Businesses fully understand the benefits and value of data analytics, but due to the sheer amount and complexity of data out there, it’s becoming difficult to get meaningful insights out of business information in a timely manner.  Thanks to the fall in the cost of computing, gathering data is affordable, but it’s pointless storing it and not doing anything with it. To find insights you need the right tools that can handle the volume and complexity and turn it into value fast. We looking forward to working with Atheon Analytics to help them work with retailers and suppliers to get answers to business-critical questions fast, as well as helping them to roll out EXASOL into other areas of their business.”