Woolworths has rebranded its joint advanced analytics efforts with Quantium as wiq - Woolies iQ - and is assembling a team of ex-consultants to run a transformation of its existing analytics operations.
Written as wiq by Woolworths and WiQ by Quantium, the brand has cropped up online in the past couple of months, but it’s only now that a composite picture of what it means has emerged.
When Woolworths bought a controlling stake in Quantium last year, it said it would set up a joint business called Q-Retail, which would house joint data science and advanced analytics capabilities.
A recent Woolworths recruitment advertisement states the retailer has “created a new business called wiq (formally known as Q-Retail) who will unlock the best of Woolworths Group and Quantium to reimagine retail by solving the most complex problems using data and analytics.”
iTnews has confirmed that wiq will replace Q-Retail as the name of the joint operation.
“Q-Retail is being rebranded to “wiq”. The wiq brand is currently being ‘soft-launched’ internally and used in job ads,” a Woolworths spokesperson told iTnews.
“Q-Retail was always intended as a placeholder name while we defined a permanent brand
“wiq represents bringing together the best of Woolworths Group and Quantium to unlock the power of data to reimagine retail.”
Tracking wiq’s structure
Quantium’s own advertisements provide extra detail on wiq’s functional make-up.
“wiq is our new joint venture with Woolworths which will lead a data-driven transformation agenda for Woolworths and commercialise retail products globally,” the advertisements state.
“wiq will become the hub that delivers advanced analytics back into Woolworths, focused on executing the roadmap of highly impactful, high-value projects and transforming the global retail industry through analytics at scale.”
They add that “wiq is a unique opportunity in the current market, combining the best elements of consulting and being embedded within a business.”
The consultancy role that wiq will play inside of Woolworths is clear, given the direction of the retailer’s advertisements.
The managing director of Q-Retail, Amitabh Mall, is ex-Boston Consulting Group.
Recent advertisements by Woolworths seek recruits that have “experience in strategy, preferably from a top-tier strategy consulting or data analytics firm”.
The internal engagement model for wiq is clearly consultancy-led: those brought into the operation are expected to “collaborate with business units across Woolworths Group to identify advanced analytics opportunities, develop business cases into structured initiatives and support their delivery” and to “act as a translator to foster collaboration between business and analytics stakeholders”.
There are also indications of a transformation of the underlying technology, which is said to remain “predominantly Google Cloud Platform products”, a suite it embraced back in 2019.
Woolworths spokesperson called the analytics transformation “a very ambitious endeavour that wiq will run in close partnership with each of the business teams.”
“This is expected to be a multi-year journey where we touch just about every aspect of our Group to create better experiences through data for our customers, our team members and our communities,” the spokesperson said.
“The Google cloud platform that we have invested in over the last few years will be a major enabler that will continue to play a central role going forward.”
Woolworths states that, internally-facing at least, the goal of wiq is to build “a world-class retail analytics capability, deployed across every part of the Woolworths ecosystem, including our customer experience, supply chain, 1400-plus stores and our buying team, driving $65 billion-plus in revenue.”
There is also a broader ecosystem improvement component, tipped at the time of the Quantium majority stake purchase, and also flagged in recent advertisements.
“We’re also aspiring to commercialise some of our capabilities to power retail partners across the globe, creating a better tomorrow for our team, customers and the communities we serve,” Woolworths notes.
It appears that wiq’s solutions may also be offered to other retailers as well, with Woolworths effectively acting as a testbed and proving ground, before a solution is marketed to other retailers worldwide.
The timeline for this part of the wiq story is unclear, however.