Analytics software has failed to live up to the hype. Quite simply, it is complex to set up and run, is too generic and does not address the needs of users in particular vertical sectors.
That, at least, is the view of Simon Grindrod, who founded Numbercraft with his twin brother Peter and mathematician David Waters in 1998 to address these perceived shortcomings.
Numbercraft’s software is not only more user friendly, says Grindrod, the company’s managing director, but is also closely tailored to specific niche sectors – specifically retail and fast moving consumer goods (FMCG) – making it easier to set up and run. Underpinning the software are a number of algorithms, developed by Waters and Peter Grindrod, which greatly reduce the need for customising the software. With conventional analytics
software, says Simon Grindrod, users often have to devise the algorithms themselves or hire external consultants to do it for them.
The company offers three separate products: ‘Purchase Analyser’, which examines the efficiency of cross-selling activities; ‘Seville’, which is aimed at FMCG companies that need to plan, manage and measure the impact of their sales and marketing activities; and ‘Cairo’, a customer relationship management product that helps analyse why customers change their purchasing behaviour. A typical licence for theses products costs between £50,000 (EU78,600) and £100,000 (EU157,400).
Retailers are generally heavy users of analytic tools and the company has an impressive list of clients, including Coca-Cola, Procter & Gamble, Unilever, Sainsburys, Tesco and Waitrose.
Numbercraft faces stiff competition from a number of other start-ups, however, including Knowledge Extraction Engines (KXEN), and from well-established vendors such as Business Objects and SAS Institute. But Simon Grindrod argues that the large suppliers do not focus so closely on niche markets.
In any case, Numbercraft might not have to compete with its rivals much longer. The company is signing up a number of reseller agreements with US software suppliers, including Lawson Software. “Our ultimate aim is to eaten by one of our partners,” he says.