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DSGi Business

Evaluation of marketing analytics software – ensuring fit for purpose


DSGi Business is a part of the FTSE 100 Company DSG International, and is better known as the holding company for Dixons, PC World Business, Equanet and MicroWarehouse, and various other IT brands, all of which focus on business electronic/IT retail across UK and Europe.

The DSGi brands were acquired over a period of time and as such, the holding company inherited many legacy systems, all of which required integration and de-duplication into a  data warehouse.  This task was completed in early 2008, and Business Objects was used as the main tool of interrogation and analysis for the organisation.

However, as Business Objects is a BI tool the marketing departments experienced difficulties when attempting to use the system for fast counts, individual customer analysis, segmentation, campaign management, extracts, etc – everything required to help the marketing department function.  After various applications were purchased to help the marketing teams, it was then decided that a “CRM approach” was required, one which could be look at customers and their accounts across all business brands and assess the depth of relationship with DSGi, not just the individual brand.

DSGi recognised that another solution was required, but as the IT department as already fully booked on a corporate project which had greater priority, the required solution had to be implemented with little reliance upon IT personnel.  The Marketing Analysis initiated an project to implement an analytics and campaign marketing system.   They set up an ITT process with various suppliers and applications, but found it difficult to make an objective assessment as their experience of the tools was limited to demonstrations.

The requirement

DSGi asked us to make recommendations on the supplier and application configuration which  would closely meet the objectives of the department, thus enabling the organisation to complete its system evaluation. The ultimate aim of the project was to produce a system that would allow quick, in-depth analysis together with semi-automated and triggered campaign functionality.
The challenge

The DSGi marketing function was responsible for a very important online prospecting system, which was created by and supplied by a marketing services supplier.  This system was the lifeblood of the acquisition strategy, and so could not be overlooked.  If the supplier was not part of the final recommendation then an alternative had to be built into the solution.

Our approach

Despite the time pressures of making a recommendation within a two week timeframe, we developed a structured method to ensure that we made an objective and fully rounded recommendation.   The steps we undertook were as follows:

1.Business requirements gathering

We undertook eight 30-minute interviews with key personnel and stakeholders from DSGi, including IT, sales teams, marketing analysts, etc in order to understand specifics such as

  • Skill levels of users
  • Analysis and reporting requirements
  • Complexity of campaign selections and extracts
  • Frequency of use
  • Data inputs, refreshes, etc
  • Data quality management

2.Analysis of the business requirements

Having researched their current and future requirements we undertook a gap analysis study and distilled this into a list of key criteria for assessing the applications and the suppliers.   The result was a chapter called “Situation Analysis” which identified key priorities above and beyond those identified by DSGi in their briefing document to us.

3.Research into suppliers and applications

We undertook both primary and secondary research to complete this element of the task.  At DSGi’s invitation we attended a demonstration of one application/supplier.  Since we were already familiar as developers and users of three of the systems under review, we were able to provide an impartial view of the applications quite quickly.

One of the tasks involved was to assess the credibility of the suppliers representing the applications, as DSGi wanted to ensure that they would engage a reliable supplier, capable of developing and supporting the system. To complete this, we reviewed all marketing collateral available on the suppliers, analysed the feedback from DSGi teams who attended the demonstrations, contacted previous clients and vendors for an assessment of their capability and reviewed their responses to the RFP document, against which we undertook a critique of their methodology.

4.Scorecard development

We developed a spreadsheet based scorecard for DGSi, which we completed based as part of our evaluation, but designed to be used by the client to re-assess where necessary or present to the Board for funding.

The scorecard was divided into themes based on application functionality and directly referenced DSGi’s objectives.  Each theme was then split down further into specific criteria each of which were judged based on how close the application came to the requirement.  Below are some of the functions that we scrutinised:

  • Usability
  • Reporting
  • Analysis functions
  • Data build (ETL tools)
  • Campaign management
  • Systems requirements

5.Final report and recommendations

We prepared an extensive report which included the design of four scenarios, illustrating how a new marketing analytics and campaign management system could be integrated into the existing DSGi infrastructure with minimal interruption, or reliance upon internal IT resource, and the various configurations that could be achieved.

The report provided a recommendation on supplier and application, based upon the scorecard results.

The benefits to DSGi

DSGi was able to secure additional funding from the Board by engaging Aszent to evaluate the suppliers and systems.  They could also select a supplier, application and system configuration that met their organisational needs.


Steve Lowes
CRM Strategy Manager
Tel: 0161 447 3624
Mobile: 07712  784971
Email: steve.lowes@dsgibusiness.com

David Roach
Communications Development Manager
Tel: 0161 447 3624
Mobile: 07980 605909
Email: david.roach@dsgibusiness.com

We wouldn’t work with anyone else as we really don’t feel that there are any others within the industry who can deliver what we need. — Abi Thornton, Head of Listener Insight, Global Radio

Call Aszent on 07887 653595