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If you’re like me, or the millions of American shoppers who celebrated the holiday season with record purchases, exchanges, and returns, you might want to read about the challenges that retailers face when managing their complex data landscape – especially as they accelerate their digital transformation journeys.

Leveraging a platform like the Orion Enterprise Information Intelligence graph (EIIG) provides retailers with a living and breathing digital “map,” enabling them to navigate their unified commerce supply chain to profitability by gaining real-time visibility into data flow and actionable insights.

Holiday 2022 Sales Up, so Are Data Challenges

According to Mastercard SpendingPulse, which tracks sales across all payment types, holiday retail sales increased by 7.6% during November 1st to Christmas Eve. Early indications reported by the National Retail Federation (NRF) showed consumers started their holiday shopping early in October resulting in a strong year-over-year increase through the first half of the holiday season.

Driving unified commerce management to profitability is a core challenge faced by retailers big and small, considering the massive transformation of consumer shopping behavior over the last few years. Human judgment will never go away, but its importance for tactical decisions for unified commerce marketing will diminish over time. Hard data is replacing guesswork.

Retail is the nation’s largest private-sector employer, contributing $3.9 trillion to annual GDP and supporting one in four U.S. jobs – 52 million working Americans, according to NRF. At Orion Governance, we believe there’s a huge need for a data management solution to help retailers unlock the value of their data assets.

What Challenges Do Retailers Face?

Over the last several months we spent quality time with several national retailers which manage complex and diverse IT environments. As well, we spoke to consultants who have a thorough understanding of delivering a unified commerce experience. Here is a summary of what we heard.

Retail Business Challenges Unified Commerce Data Issues
Meet sales growth objectives across dynamically shifting  channel demand Unharmonized data across channels derived from disparate data sources
Realize planned ROI from technology investments in digital transformations, data science initiatives and AI/ML driven automation Inaccurate and uncurated data being used to drive erroneous automated decisions throughout the enterprise
Establish order management integrity based on timely and reliable customer, inventory, and logistics information Absence of real-time data synchronization and validation leading to missed customer delivery commitments
Mitigate projects that don’t meet initial timelines and budgets Lack of tools to model proposed data asset changes increases risk and the probability of project failure
Reduce cost associated with business disruptions caused from issues with new or enhanced technology Lack of automation to identify data discrepancies and latencies during the testing phase of new technology projects
Drive business strategies and operations across organizations with synchronized key performance metrics Siloed metrics derived from disparate sources of data and calculation variants

Unleashing the Potential of Unified Commerce Data Assets

The retail environment of the future will revolve around customer experiences. Unified Commerce management capabilities and skills will be critical for this transformation. Data will underpin all operations in the new environment, so a complete understanding and mastery of enterprise data assets is a prerequisite for growth and long-term viability in the retail space.

The Orion Enterprise Information Intelligence Graph (EIIG) is a self-defined data fabric platform that provides this mastery. It has unmatched capabilities to reach and ingest metadata for structured and unstructured data assets. It connects with all platforms and understands every programming language to absorb processing logic. Operational data from job control language and scripts also contribute metadata to complete the picture. Orion’s platform uses the sum of these assets to build the most comprehensive knowledge graph available today.

The platform is the retailer’s gateway to a list of essential data management features that will dramatically alter how retailers manage enterprise data assets. Those features include:

  • Knowledge graph (the EIIG) assembled from enterprise metadata plus a locally derived ontology or an industry-standard business ontology. The graph is an intelligent interface layer that allows business users to understand and exploit the most relevant data from across the enterprise without regard to silos, organizations, or other boundaries.
  • Complete metadata extraction and ingestion combined with machine learning creates a comprehensive enterprise ontology that underpins the knowledge graph
  • Superior connectivity to every platform, technology, and programming language
  • Dynamic data catalog
  • Easier discovery of data a comprehensive understanding of your IT landscape
  • End-to-end data lineage
  • Automated real-time impact analysis
  • Active metadata (e.g., proactive suggestions for optimizations, cost reductions)
  • Metadata analytics
  • Realtime SLA monitoring of data operations
  • Trust and quality scoring
  • Modeling tools to understand, in advance, the impact of growth, architecture changes, consolidations, and migrations
  • Tools to identify duplication and redundancy

How Do Orion’s Retail Customers Use EIIG Capabilities?

Establish trust via quality and reliability. Individuals and organizations accountable for data quality use EIIG to eliminate reporting uncertainties and to improve credibility with business users. End-to-end data lineage provides complete visibility of data movement and transformations, which in turn makes identifying and fixing problems easy. Think of it as akin to a digital map for enterprise data.

Provide a single source of truth. The C-suite and other managers want their reports to be 100% accurate and on time. Anything short of that standard is unacceptable. Achieving that level of perfection is impossible without sophisticated enterprise-wide data management tools.

Fix operational problems in real time. Data administrators can monitor every data-related connection and process across the enterprise. When something goes wrong, the event is flagged and highlighted. When an SLA commitment isn’t met, administrators are notified immediately so that they can take corrective action.

Auditable compliance. Compliance managers easily validate rules governing data management (e.g., privacy, government reporting) to avoid unwanted scrutiny, penalties, or jail time.

Mitigate risk for changes. Expansion, upgrades, modernization, infrastructure footprint reduction, cloud deployments: These initiatives entail risk. The Orion platform mitigates that risk. Complete visibility of data assets and flows allows project managers to identify and address problems in advance of implementations. As well, the platform offers modeling tools that answer “what if” questions that enable resource optimization.

Cost reduction. Some customers use the EIIG platform tools to drastically reduce operational costs by exposing previously unknown duplicate or redundant data repositories. A few customers were able to shrink their enterprise data management cost envelope by 40-50%

Want to Chat About How Orion Governance Can Help Your Company?

If results like these can improve your company’s revenue and profitability, email us today at

About the author: Nancy Chou is the Chief Marketing Officer at Orion Governance, Inc.

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