FAQ – Sales Intelligence

FAQs – General Information

Q. What is Sales Intelligence
A. Sales intelligence (SI) refers to technologies, applications and practices for the collection, integration, analysis, and presentation of information to help sales people and management keep up to date with the status of sales in a business and optimize performance and efficiency. In addition to providing business critical metrics for win-loss and sales confidence, SI can present contextually relevant customer and product information.

Q. What do you mean by “Real-time” Sales Intelligence
A. Using the Microtracking Sales Intelligence Suite your own field personnel such as sales people or market researchers capture data from the retail stores as they do their normal job, and upload it to the Microtracking server immediately, where it is automatically collated, metrics are applied and critical information is available to management within seconds.
This process can take months using traditional data collection and analysis methods and tools

Q. What type of organisations will use the Microtracking service?
A. The service is primarily intended for organisations who’s things are placed on supermarket shelves, but can just as easily be used for things which are displayed in branded displays or shelves in any location.


FAQs – Identification of Items and Articles

Q. Can we use our existing GS1 EAN13 barcodes to identify our things in the Sales Intelligence Suite?
A. Yes, the Sales Intelligence Suite can use standard barcodes, Optical Character Recognition (OCR), RFID tags or Image Recognition to identify items

Q. Does each item need an individual identity? 
A. No, the Sales Intelligence Suite works on article level information. For example, each 330cl bottle of cola has the same article number and the application does not need to know the identity of each individual bottle.

Q. What is RFID?
A. Radio Frequency Identification.
A small tag containing an RF chip and antenna stores data which can be read using standardized readers
The tag can be integrated with existing labels or attached elsewhere on an item

Q. RFID sounds expensive. What extra value may it give us?
A. RFID tags can be read, and the data they contain recorded, without having to visually see the tag, thus data capture processes can be automated and carried out at vastly increased speeds compared to barcode technology. In some applications it is feasible to read over 500 RFID tags in one second.
RFID tags can also be used to guarantee the authenticity of an item


FAQs – The Microtracking System

Q. What is Microtracking?
A. Microtracking is a service which provides business critical information to members of a manufacturing, retail or wholesale operation to enable increased efficiency, reduced costs increased sales and ultimately higher profits.
Employees farm data from GS1 standard ID labels or tags during their daily work.
This raw data is uploaded in real-time to the Microtracking middleware which applies business intelligence metrics to generate clear and concise information about the current state of the business, thus empowering management and staff to make optimal decisions and strategies.

Q. Is the cloud a secure place to store our data?
A. Yes. All banks use cloud services for transactions every day.
Some say the cloud is the safest place to store data as a hacker will not know where to look for it.
Multiple layers of security may be added if required.

Q. Can we install the Microtracking middleware/server inside our own IT environment?
A. Yes.

Q. What do you mean “Microtracking is a Service” and how is it different to other such systems?
A. Think of a mobile telecom operator which builds infrastructure and sells access to it on a subscription basis.
Microtracking has built an infrastructure which allows you to capture raw data from GS1 standard identifiers, store it and apply intelligent metrics and analysis; then display your business critical information in a format of your choice on PC, tablet or mobile devices.
Thus you can subscribe to the service for a low initial fee and pay a periodic subscription on a per-use basis-

  • Very low CAPEX
  • No long IT projects
  • Fast initial start-up (usually within a few weeks of the order)
  • Scalable solution, start small and grow as your needs increase

Q. You say that the Microtracking infrastructure is generic, but also customizable. Please explain.
A. We have generic solutions such as inventory monitoring, shipping and receiving records, supply chain traceability, ePedigree and Sales Intelligence.
We can then add custom features like point-of-sale data, alerts and alarms, temperature and humidity monitoring, etc.
We also provide tailor made Business Intelligence Dashboards, reports and statistics to give you clear intelligence about your specific business.

Q. Can I use existing hardware or do I have to invest in expensive computers?
A. You need a scanner and an internet connection for each place you wish to capture and register data. If you already use these in your existing processes you may not need to invest in hardware at all, or you can install the Microtracking Sales Intelligence application on any smartphone and use the camera to capture data.

Q. What is BYOD and will it suit my business?
A. Bring Your Own Device. Instead of a company supplying hardware to their employees they simply use what they already have, like the smartphone in their pocket.
Microtracking data capture and business intelligence applications run on any mobile device and thus BYOD can empower your workforce with no investment in hardware.

Q. Surely we can’t use mobile phones to capture data in a working environment like ours, can we?
A. Rugged phones are a lot tougher than most handheld computers, and it is likely that your workforce already have their phones with them in their working environment.

Q. What is a Business Intelligence Dashboard and why is it good for our business?
A. A dashboard is a flexible user interface tool which allows you to view the information in which you are interested in a format that suits you.
Most user interfaces are static, that is, they are designed to show certain information is a particular way and you have to get used to it. Our Business Intelligence Dashboard allows you to configure dynamically what information you wish to see about your business and in what format. You can easily generate your own dashboards, reports, statistics alerts and alarms and display them graphically, in tables, charts, pivot tables and many other variables. This means that each user in an organisation can display information pertaining to their role and all users can collaborate with the same data in a format of their own choosing. The dashboard can be accessed by PC, tablet or mobile device so you always have real-time information in your pocket for optimal business intelligence and decision making.

Q. Do we need to have Business Intelligence and User Interface experts in our IT team?
A. No, we can configure it for you, but in large organizations it may be worth having us train some people to do it themselves.

Q. We already have an ERP/WMS/CRM system. Can the Microtracking service interface with that?
A. Yes. We can push the real-time information from the Microtracking service directly into your ERP/WMS/CRM so you can access it using your current IT environment.


FAQs – Advantages of efficient Sales Intelligence

Q. What sort of advantages have you seen from other cases?

  • Real-time sales data for each product, store, region or country
  • Extremely accurate sales analytics and predictions
  • Transparent sales force performance data empowering dynamic sales force incentive schemes
  • Increase sales force efficiency and optimize time
  • Face (Planogram) management of each shelf or display
  • Compliance with corporate product range agreements and gap analysis
  • Real-time records and alerts for under-performing
  • Inventory and stock value across the whole network
  • Eliminate out-of-stock situations
  • Dramatically reduce product returns and “out-of-date”
  • Better market penetration due to real-time comparative analysis
  • Transparent sales force performance data
  • Real-time sales incentive management and dynamic competitive initiatives
  • Reduced costs
  • Increased sales and sales margins

Q. Who is currently using the Microtracking Sales Intelligence Suite
A. Our largest customer is the global retail brand Nestlé