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Specsavers harnesses data to sharpen its performance visibility

Leading glasses retailer completes a global technology refresh in order to take full advantage of its data in a bid to improve IT for the back-office as well as support its well know two-for-one offering.


With 1,500 stores and 26,000 staff across the Channel Islands, UK, Ireland, the Netherlands, Scandinavia, Finland, Spain, Australia and New Zealand, Specsavers is the leading optical retailer in the UK and one of the top five in the world.
The company continues to expand its successful business model into new countries and healthcare sectors.

The challenge

specsavers banner imageSpecsavers’ IT department is in the throes of a global technology refresh that will transform its regional IT infrastructure from disparate back-office and corporate systems to having standard technology platforms across the company. Specsavers promises its customers everywhere a wide choice of styles and professional quality at the lowest possible prices. This means that while IT overhauls its systems, the business still needs reliable, actionable monthly reports to support processes like promotion planning, inventory management and procurement.

During the technology refresh, Specsavers wanted to provide managers working in its 10 head offices with a self-service business intelligence tool for analysing sales data and generating financial reports. Specsavers had historically been maintaining multiple different monthly reports, which took too long to consolidate and were prone to human error. Specsavers also needed to feed sales data into its warehouses and labs to help planners maintain optimal inventory levels and obtain the most favourable sourcing terms for materials.

“Specsavers’ is renowned for its highly popular two-for-one offer, but this promotion requires analysts to view data at the order level, so they can see which pairs of choices are most popular; aggregated data has no value. With Pentaho Business Analytics we can now analyse these cross‐sales patterns, which inform our marketing campaigns, procurement planning and other processes.”
Carl Jansen, IT product development manager, Specsavers

Specsavers chose to implement Pentaho Business Analytics and Pentaho Data Integration in several countries, starting in newer markets, where there is less historical data to analyse. Specsavers will continue to roll out Pentaho software in more mature markets over the next two to three years.

Why this solution?

• Commercial open source technology – the global technology refresh specified a preference for open source technology for its favourable cost structure and open architecture, which is easier to integrate and customise.
• Breadth of business analytics capabilities including data integration, which Specsavers required to extract and integrate information from different point-of-sale systems into its MySQL-based data warehouse and Oracle ERP systems.
• Self-service features that enable its head office managers to easily design their own custom reports to analyse data unique to their country’s stores, like available eyeglass styles, which reduces the need for IT support.


• Pentaho Business Analytics was successfully rolled out in test markets to 25 head office managers and approximately 200 planners in the warehouses and labs.
• Head office managers now receive monthly reports in a single, standardised format.
• Less reliance on IT with ‘super user’ data analysts being trained on Pentaho, freeing up IT resources for back end development.


Specsavers, one of the world’s largest eyeglass retailers is undergoing a major IT refresh that includes overhauling its BI services. Before the refresh, Specsavers had been running multiple different versions of reports on its sales data, which took a long time to consolidate, were prone to error and relied too heavily on IT support.

Specsavers needed faster, more consistent reporting for inventory planning, materials sourcing and retail promotion planning, particularly for its famous two‐for-one eyeglass deals. Specsavers chose and successfully rolled out Pentaho Business Analytics and Pentaho Data Integration in test markets, which have smaller data sets than more established regions. Although the technology refresh is still ongoing, head office managers and planners in these regions use Pentaho today for consistent, self‐service monthly reporting, design and analysis, freeing up the IT staff to focus on the technology refresh.

Specsavers will continue rolling out Pentaho in additional European countries over the next two to three years.