Wesfarmers builds out advanced analytics centre

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Wesfarmers builds out advanced analytics centre
Kmart and other Wesfarmers retailers will be able to use the AAC.

Starts taking expressions of interest.

Wesfarmers has started a hunt for talent to fill out its new advanced analytics centre, which cuts across its businesses including Bunnings, Officeworks, Kmart and Target.

The ASX-listed company overnight called for a fresh set of expressions of interest for “data scientists, senior data scientists, data engineers, and business translators” to join the centre.

The existence of the advanced analytics centre (AAC) was first disclosed at the company’s half year results back in February.

But managing director Rob Scott provided significant new details at the company’s strategy day last month, including that the AAC would be colocated with flybuys and house some “10-20 data scientists and engineers” initially.

It appears Wesfarmers is seeking to fill out more of those initial numbers, having appointed Alan Lowthorpe from the 50 percent Woolworths-owned Quantium Group as AAC’s leader in early June as well as an unknown number of data scientists.

“The advanced analytics centre will assist in utilising data science and best practice analytics to enhance our decision making, develop new business opportunities and help solve problems across the group in a range of areas including customer insights, pricing, ranging, salesforce effectiveness and supply chain management,” Scott told the company’s recent strategy day.

“The AAC team will work closely with our divisional teams on day to day projects to develop capability and also through formal development programs.”

Wesfarmers said in its expression of interest notice that it wants data scientists to research “new advanced analytics opportunities in areas including prediction, regression, machine learning and text mining in order to identify new opportunities for future solutions”.

The company has also created a “tailored development program” it is calling the Wesfarmers analytics academy to get the divisions more excited about incorporating analytics into their operations.

Scott said last month that around 200 leaders from across the Wesfarmers group would go through the academy.

“This will materially step change the awareness and uses of advanced analytics in our group,” he said.

Scott did not disclose the total amount that Wesfarmers is putting into standing up the AAC and associated programs but did indicate that it is “fairly modest at a group level”.

“We’ll be monitoring the outcomes closely and I expect it will deliver an immediate financial benefit to the group,” he said.

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