OfficeMax turns to ParAccel for deeper analytics

OfficeMax plans to improve its use of data and analytics and has begun implementation of ParAccel Inc.’s Analytic Database.

ParAccel was chosen from a field of 13 data warehousing and analytics providers in a due diligence process that eventually narrowed the field to two vendors. ParAccel won out in an on-site proof-of-concept demonstration. A critical factor in the decision was ParAccel’s ability to quickly run a thorough market basket analysis for OfficeMax, which the retailer will use to optimize its merchandising and promotions. ParAccel will be providing an integrated data warehouse platform, analytics capabilities and its new “Blended Scan” tool, which combines local disks with a client’s storage area network.

“OfficeMax is excited about this partnership as it will provide our business the query performance we require in a scalable, cost-effective solution,” said Charlie Baugh, SVP of information technology for OfficeMax, in a statement. 

“We offered some architectural improvements with our technology that OfficeMax didn’t have with their existing system, and on top of that we have the blended scan feature,” said Kim Stanick, VP marketing, ParAccel. “The market basket analysis that OfficeMax wants is a really sophisticated analytics process that retailers need to do to understand the effectiveness of their merchandising, but OfficeMax couldn’t run it on their existing database. We were able to run it, and they saw the potential of the new technology and architecture to really get through the workloads and to be more effective in their merchandising.”

OfficeMax — which sells its products directly, in catalogs, online and in more than 1,000 stores — will be using ParAccel’s tools to improve its merchandising, promotions, shelf placement and campaign effectiveness. Market basket analysis will help the retailer see which products are purchased together so it can optimize stocking and cross-sell offers. OfficeMax reported total sales of about $1.66 billion for the second quarter of 2009, a 16.5% drop from the same period the year before. The company could not be reached for comment as of press time.

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