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Transform channel performance management with data transparency and reliability as building blocks

Transform channel performance management with data transparency and reliability as building blocks
November 10, 2021

Timely and reliable data are, without a doubt, crucial for effective decision-making. In particular, for the retail industry, channel performance data helps govern critical business decisions such as advertising spend, marketing efforts, and demand planning. As a result, business executives spend a significant portion of their time reviewing channel partner performance data. 

Recently, HCL partnered with a Fortune 50 company that helps consumers connect through social media and AR/VR. We worked with 80+ global partners, and this entailed overseeing sales data collection, supporting channel partner onboarding, maintaining master data, and ensuring data integrity. The data from 200 individual reports with approximately 150,000 line items include multiple fields such as invoice date, SKU code, partner name, region, bill-to details, ship-to details, inventory, sales, returns, and serial numbers.

In such cases, the process of collecting, transforming, and maintaining data integrity is complex. This is due to the differences among the channel partners’ reporting systems, accounting policies, data sharing options, the nomenclature of data fields, the granularity of reports, reporting frequencies, and revisions to reports. This leads to challenges, such as:

  • Fixed data issues are detected downstream during business reviews
  • Sell-in and sell-out data (SISO) doesn’t tally with distributors
  • Data pipelines are broken and go undetected until reporting issues surface
  • Larger gaps between source and destination data due to changes in numbers over time
  • Data validation and fixes are time-consuming, and building efficient systems takes a backseat

The case was no different for this Fortune 50 company. Consequently, HCL made the following changes:

  • Developed smart widgets to build dashboards, which helped to visualize, identify, and fix anomalies upstream in the data pipelines
  • Identified gaps in sell-in and sell-out data and coordinated with channel partners to fix them
  • Launched automated alerts for monitoring issues in the data pipeline
  • Resolved issues in the master data through research and analysis in partner websites/public sources
  • Established a data reconciliation procedure to eliminate gaps in source and destination data  

The result is timely and accurate daily, weekly, and monthly channel partner performance reports. This helped the regional business teams of the client to drive partner performance, incentivize partners, and improve compliance from an average of 80% to over 95%. Instead of referring to multiple manual reports for assessing performance, the business teams started relying on the consolidated reporting dashboards. The role that HCL plays in reimagining the channel partner performance management is ultimately helping the Fortune 50 company improve its sales strategy, demand planning, and marketing efforts in local markets.