Data Driven Decisions for Business
Learning outcome 1: Critically evaluate the evolving use of data in solving business problems, presenting logical arguments based on evidence
Learning outcome 2: Explore how data analytics can be used within a business context
Learning outcome 3: Critically appraise the presentation of data within a business environment
Learning outcome 4: Critically evaluate different business analytical techniques as part of planning a data analytics initiative.
You have recently been employed by Café On The Sea (COTS) as a data analyst. COTS is a chain of caffes located on seaside cities around the UK. It was established 15 years ago with vision to bring in the UK the relaxing environment found in caffes around Italy and France coasts. COTS has grown successfully with a chain of 15 cafes in locations such as Brighton, Bournemouth, Southampton, Portsmouth, Blackpool, and St Ives.
As COTS expands, it continues to increase its data analytic roles with the organisation to strengthening its strategic decision-making capabilities. The recruitment strategy is to employ young professionals with strategic and data analytics skills willing to provide COTS top management with strong evidence-based foundation for their business decisions. They like recruits to have a broad management experience combine with strong academic background. Your MSc Management degree at BPP University was a key element in their decision to recruit you.
As part of the induction process, COTS, you have joined the Corporate Strategy Department as junior dada analyst. Your manager requested you to complete a number of tasks to ensure that you have a grounded knowledge and understanding of data analytics and its application in decision-making. This is your opportunity to demonstrate your capability and give your employer the confidence to let you run your own project in the future.
As part of your first duties, your manager asked you to join the team in charge of the development of the 3-Year Strategic Plan for the company. The team is analysing different options for growth, which include expanding abroad, new product development and diversification into new business areas. However, it makes sense to define the strategy based on these options only if the current business model does not provide the expansion and growth opportunities expected by the top management. So, you have been given the responsibility to analyse COTS current business performance.
Your job will be to analyse the performance of the best three coffee shops of the company located one in Blackpool, one in Southampton and one in Portsmouth. COTS has experienced strong competition in these cities from coffee chains such as Costa, Café Nero and Starbucks. So, the performance of these shops is a good indication of the current overall market position of the company.
Research objectives and tasks
The Corporate Strategy Manager, who is leading the 3-Year Strategic Plan project, is interested in understanding the options available for a local expansion strategy, including increase the size of the shops. For this purpose, he wants you to:
Issue 1: Perform a sales value and volume analysis of the three coffee shops to identify the best shop to invest in expanding its floor area.
As part of the analysis, the Procurement Manager wants to improve the profitability by reducing the total cost of ingredients used to produce the menu for the shops. The current menu is made of the following product groups:
• Cold drinks,
• Hot drinks,
• Pastry and
In order to reduce the cost, the Procurement Manager wants to simplify the menu by removing the products with the worst sales performance. Therefore, he wants you to:
Issue 2: Perform an analysis of the product offering to identify those products with the worst sales performance which are the candidates to be removed from the shops` menu.
COTS wanted to explore whether the option of home delivery adds value to its business. In April 2022, the company decided to partner with Deliveroo, a food delivery company, to start a trial project in its Blackpool`s shop, so the company could take advantage of the "home-working" trend originated as result of the COVID pandemic affected the UK. Now, the Sales Director is keen to understand if this new delivery option could be expanded to other shops in the chain. So, he wants you to address the question:
Issue 3: Did the home delivery service offered in Blackpool have a positive impact on the sales performance of the shop?
The responses to requests detailed below should be included in a summary MS Word report that you save and submit as a PDF format file.
Because this is your first project within COTS, the Corporate Strategy Manager has given you additional details regarding the structure and content that it is expected to see in your report. This is set out in Section 3 - Report Structure.
A set of data is available (see module dataset spreadsheet file). Since the data comes directly from the coffee shops, quality issues are present which will require your attention!
You have five tasks to complete for your summative report. The first three are exactly the same as for your formative report and you should update your answers to these tasks based both on feedback on your formative submission together with your own further learning across the module.
Task 1: Introduction and project plan
Summarise what you are going to present in the report and justify your plan for delivering the research project to the Corporate Strategy Manager. Ensure you also clearly reference a data analytics framework as part of your plan. Finally, specifically explain how data analytics can add value and drive improved business performance for COTS`s coffee shops.
• State the purpose of report and describe the report structure and contents
• Present your overall project plan for delivering the project
• Ensure that your project plan explicitly refers to a data analytics framework and explain how the selected framework can be used to addresses the core business questions assigned to you.
• Present COTS`s coffee shops Key Performance Indicators (KPIs) and how improved analytics enables improvements against these KPIs.
Task 2: Data preparation quality issues and remedies
Discuss first the generic issues that data analysts encounter in collecting, integrating and cleaning data. Second, discuss the specific issues with the project data that the Corporate Strategy team has provided to you and how you propose to address those issues.
• List and explain generic data problems and how to identify them. What are the different options for resolving these generic issues?
• List all the data problems you have identified with the COTS dataset. Explain how you identified the problems and how you propose to address them.
Task 3: Data analysis and commentary
Using tables, set out and explain the results of your numeric data analysis, including summary of exploratory data and supporting commentary. Explain how your results inform understanding of COTS`s shops performance. This should include three tables setting out:
(Table A) Sales volume and value by month, by year and across the 3 years period, (Table B) Benchmark comparisons of product groups performance covering sales volume and value by quarter, by year and across the 3 years period, and
(Table C) Benchmark comparisons of sales volume and value between coffee shops by quarter, by year and across the 3 years period.
• Include summary exploratory data calculations for total sales value and volume. The analysis could include for example top and bottom performing product categories, ranges, averages, standard deviations; top and bottom performing time-periods, etc.
• Ensure your tables are professionally presented: Headings, units, data formats. Highlight and annotate key data elements
• For each table include firstly an explanation of the table and its contents and then a bullet- point list of what you can see or infer from the analysis of the data.
Task 4: Data visualisation and commentary
Use your data charting/graphics and interpretation skills to develop visual presentations of your findings together with bullet-points setting out the key findings and inferences from the analysis of the charts/plots. This should include three charts presenting:
(Chart A) Comparison of sales value trends across coffee shops over time
(Chart B) Product category performance comparisons between coffee shops, and (Chart C) Impact of the home-delivery service offered in the Blackpool area, and in comparison with the other two cities.
• Ensure you provide well-presented and labelled charts
• Use a combination of visualisation plots and techniques such as bar charts, stacked bar charts, trend charts, pie charts and tree map charts
• For each chart include firstly an explanation of the chart and its contents and then a bullet- point list of what you can see or infer from the data.
Task 5: Conclusions and recommendations
Based on your analysis and findings in Tasks 3 and 4 set-out your conclusions and recommendations. Ensure you address the three issues raised by the top management.
• What conclusions can be inferred regarding COTS`s coffee shops sales performance and operations? Remember to include the answers to the three issues raised by COTS top management.
• What are your business recommendations to COTS`s CEO and top management?
• Include any suggestions related to data analytics and its better use within the organisation.
• Note that it is acceptable to add to your data analytics recommendations, possible actions that COTS might take, based not only on your findings but also on your wider knowledge of business and COTSs own market sector.
You should set out your report according to the following heading structure. You should add sub- headings under this overall structure as you feel fit to demonstrate your ability to on-develop the section themes and to provide meaningful sub-structure. But you must use this overall structure in order to provide a consistent framework against which your marker will allocate marks. You will be deduced marks if you do not follow this structure. Also note that there is no requirement for producing an Executive Summary.