The static spreadsheet challenge

Published on the 29/07/2018 | Written by Microstrategy




  • Retail, office supplies


  • Create a single delivery platform to drive sales and service
  • Create a holistic and consolidated view of our business
  • Provide mobile and web access


  • MicroStrategy platform
  • BizFIT smart strategy tool


  • Timely visibility into key business metrics
  • Interactive mobile application allows comprehensive insight into field level information


T: +61 2 9333 6400

BizFIT is Staples’ way to move from an outdated, paper-based analytics process to a mobile solution…

Staples first opened its doors in 1986 in Brighton, Massachusetts. An industry pioneer, the company branded itself as a supermarket for office products. Since its humble beginnings, Staples has grown into a global superstore in office supply retail with over 79,000 employees, 2,000 locations, and operations in 26 countries. It now sells thousands of products on location, online, or through a mobile app.

Like many established retailers, Staples had a spreadsheet problem. The company relied on legacy spreadsheets to generate 75 weekly reports and upwards of 175 ad-hoc reports. In its fast-paced industry, static information quickly became outdated and decision-makers could never be sure they were operating off of one single version of the truth.

“We needed a single delivery platform for crucial information to drive decisions and our business.”

With the enormous volume of transactions across thousands of store­fronts, the company had an abundant stream of data, but they struggled to analyse and act upon it in a timely manner. Staples acknowledged the need to better consolidate, explore, and gain insight from data so that it could quickly act on this information. “This was about fast and impactful. We have a large amount of accessible data to help make critical business decisions. Our company needed to create a single delivery platform for crucial information to drive those decisions and our business,” said Jay Peek, Director of Sales, Staples US Retail.

Building an innovative, custom solution
Staples partnered with MicroStrategy and BI design vendor Pandera to build “BizFIT” – the custom Staples reporting tool used by its US retail, loss prevention, merchants, business services, and finance departments. Mock-ups were provided and feedback welcomed throughout the development process, and with a healthy dose of friendly competition among departments, each built a tailored dashboard to impress. The result of this process was a visually appealing, robust application that effectively condensed the 75 weekly reports to a mere 13 screens.

A real impact on the bottom line
Staples has seen a dramatic improvement in its business operations since switching to the MicroStrategy platform. Metrics are becoming more ingrained in the culture and are driving conversations about results and customer behaviour. Additionally, with the MicroStrategy mobile platform, store managers are able to access, sort, and analyse information from any location. Untethered from the back office, they are able to provide higher levels of customer service and make informed business decisions straight from the sales floor.

BizFIT was launched to great fanfare, and adoption rates throughout the company are rising. Building on its success, Staples plans to expand usership to more than 1,300 stores.


No posts found

Follow iStart to keep up to date with the latest news and views...