IRI (company)

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IRI
Type Private
Industry Market Research
Founded 1979
Headquarters Chicago, Illinois, USA
Key people Andrew Appel, President and Chief Executive Officer [1]
Owners New Mountain Capital
Employees 2,500
Website www.iriworldwide.com

IRI, formerly SymphonyIRI Group, is a market research company which provides clients with consumer, shopper, and retail market intelligence and analysis focused on the consumer packaged goods (CPG) industry. IRI’s clients include 95 percent of the Fortune Global 500 CPG, retail and healthcare companies.[2] The firm operates in 58 countries through stand-alone operations, wholly owned subsidiaries, partnerships and alliances. IRI offers products and services in four areas:

  • Market Content – Retail tracking data, convenience store tracking data and consumer panel-based data
  • Predictive Analytics – Predictive analytical techniques, proprietary rapid-modeling platforms, automated services and experienced analytics consulting talent.[3]
  • Enterprise Performance Management Software – Tools to support faster analysis of market content
  • Professional Services / Consulting – focuses on four key practice areas: strategic pricing, growth and innovation, shopper marketing, and customer and channel management.[4]

Top 10 of the Market Research Sector 2012[5][edit]

  1. Nielsen
  2. Kantar Group
  3. Ipsos / Synovate
  4. Westat
  5. IRI
  6. Arbitron
  7. GfK USA
  8. IMS Health
  9. NPD Group
  10. ICF International Inc

History[edit]

IRI was formed Information Resources, Inc. (“IRI”) in Chicago in 1979[6] with the introduction of the BehaviorScan service, a patented in-market testing service that quantifies the ROI of a new TV advertising program. The brainchild of John Malec, Gerry Eskin, Penny Baron and William Walter, this service invisibly delivers different commercials to distinct household groups within the same city to quantify the advertising impact on household panelists’ purchasing behavior. IRI formally started its first BehaviorScan test one year later in 1980 and BehaviorScan remains the nation’s only within-market “split cable” targetable TV system for testing new creative and alternative media plans. IRI became a public company in 1983.[7] By 1993 Fortune Magazine had named IRI a “company to watch” for expanding into two of its biggest markets: analyzing nationwide scanner data on consumer products and producing computer software. At that time slightly more than half IRI's revenues came from Infoscan, its marketing data service.[8] Shortly thereafter in 1995, IRI rolled out its ScanKey panel service, in which consumers nationwide could scan the barcode of their

CPG product purchases at home to enable purchase tracking by various household demographics. In late 2003, IRI was acquired by Symphony Technology Group, run by Dr. Romesh Wadhwani.[9] The new leadership led to a focus on IRI’s predictive analytic applications. Subsequently in 2007, IRI unveiled IRI Liquid Data (ILD), a new end-to-end information management and insights platform. IRI was named fifth in the 2012 Honomichl Top 50 Business Report of the U.S. Marketing Research Industry.[10] In 2010 IRI was renamed SymphonyIRI.[11]

On June 1, 2011, SymphonyIRI announced that an affiliate of New Mountain Capital LLC completed a majority investment in the company. This New York-based firm manages private and public funds with more than $9 billion in aggregate capital commitments as of June 1, 2011, with a focus on growth equity investing and business building. New Mountain is now the majority shareholder in IRI. Symphony Technology Group, based in Palo Alto, Calif., is maintaining a significant equity position in the company. Additional terms of the deal were not disclosed.[12]

In April 2013, SymphonyIRI Group, Inc. announced that it is embracing its founding name of Information Resources, Inc. and rebranding as IRI. The embrace of the IRI brand is underscored by a business strategy and mission to deliver growth for clients across the globe by pinpointing what matters and illuminating how it can impact their businesses. [13]

In September 2013, IRI acquired Aztec, a leading provider of market measurement and related services for consumer packaged goods (CPG), liquor and pharmaceutical manufacturers and retailers in Australia, Canada, Hong Kong, New Zealand, South Africa, Sweden and the United Kingdom. This was the largest acquisition in IRI’s history and significantly expanded IRI’s geographic presence. [14]

Products and Publications[edit]

  • Infoscan - Each week several thousand grocery, drug, and department stores deliver the product data collected by their scanners. IRI sorts, analyzes, and verifies product price and volume, and then delivers final Infoscan sales information to its customers via tape, disk, or on-line service.[8]
  • Consumer Network - This consumer panel provides a view into consumer behavior by various household demographic groups. This platform is supplemented by a series of integrated insights, shopper and specialty panels, which are enabled through a new portable, personal collection device.[15]
  • IRI Liquid Data (ILD) – Developed in collaboration with IBM, ILD provides immediate access to strategic information and insights. The Liquid Data platform offers data management capabilities driven through a combination of IBM and IRI hardware, software, patented algorithms, industry models, data integration and supporting applications that are offered as a hosted service or as a separate infrastructure within the customer’s legacy data environment. The capability platform holds data in a flat or unstructured universe of points and leverages predictive automated analytics to generate information and insights to support specific decisions in minutes.[16]
  • Thought Leadership – IRI regularly releases a number of reports for both wide release and sale, including the monthly Times & Trends series, annual New Product Pacesetters report, and the Point of View series. These publications highlight new developments and critical events across all major CPG categories and channels, identify key trends and opportunities in the CPG industry, and include suggested strategies for marketers to harness these to their advantage.[17]

References[edit]

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