Burberry points to benefits of tech in strong annual results

Burberry has highlighted the strong role that technology plays in cutting costs and customer profiling at the fashion company, as part of its end-of-year results announcement.

It also reported intentions to spend between £180 and £200 million between 2012 and 2013, some of which will be spent on technology to provide better customer insight, services and innovations in digital marketing.

The company's profits before tax were up 26 percent to £376 million.

Angela Ahrendts, CEO at Burberry, said: “While we remain vigilant about the external environment, we will continue to invest in front-end opportunities within our brand, digital and retail strategies, to drive sustained, profitable growth and enduring customer engagement over the long term.”

Investors were told that Burberry aims to improve its services by using new digital technology to connect with customers, for example, by using social media, mobile and video chat.

It also aims to use “innovative technology” and data analytics to help identify individual customers in real time.

This is a likely reference to Burberry’s use of SAP’s in-memory analytics tool HANA. It was revealed this week that Burberry is using the product to run real-time analytics to profile customers.

HANA can increase the speed of analytics by a factor of 14,000 - a request now takes one second where it previously took five hours.

This increase in speed is gained by putting data analytics into a CPU, into 'memory', as opposed to being carried out on disk.

Burberry has a history of success using SAP, where it successfully rolled out the system to the entire business and saved approximately £50 million in 2009.

Copyright © 2012 IDG Communications, Inc.

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