Like many other industries in the U.S., the wine industry is currently experiencing a large change in its workforce. The traditional model in which generations of family members have managed the business is not sustainable for many wineries. Instead, they are now looking to millennials to fill roles, but in many cases, unsure of how to best utilize their talents.

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One issue is that many wineries still operate as “paper” businesses. This business model does not resonate with new, younger employees, and can prove to be inefficient. To best capitalize on the talents they have in front of them, wineries need to embrace new technology, including data analytics, to improve efficiency and productivity. Here, we’ll look at how they can do so.

Millennials and the job market

I first read about this industry trend in the January 2017 Wine Business Monthly article, “When the Wine is Plentiful and the Job Market is Tight”. In this survey report, Linda Higueras discusses employment trends in the wine business and the importance of targeting the millennial generation for available positions.

Higueras reports that jobs have traditionally stayed within the families who own wineries, as extended family members across generations were a direct pipeline into the business. However, in recent years, this trend has seen a dramatic decline as the next generation is not replacing the current, aging vineyard workers. Young adults are seeking higher education or jobs outside the agriculture business. At the same time, wineries are having difficulty retaining talent as there are few opportunities within the industry for career advancement.

How do millennials fit into this equation? Despite the high employment demand, millennials do not see job opportunities within the wine business as attractive and appealing. They typically want to work in fast-paced environments where they can grow their skills, focus on multiple projects, share information quickly, and gain opportunities to advance their careers. Millennials, as the “most technologically aware generation to-date,” are looking to incorporate technology into the job environment. Furthermore, they want to be self-reliant but also work in team settings in which they can form and establish connections with fellow peers in the workplace. Finally, job flexibility, such as the option to work flexible hours or remotely, is generally appealing to this younger generation.

How wineries can integrate business intelligence & millennials’ needs for success

One way that wineries can proactively tackle these challenges and trends and find success is to create attractive job opportunities for the millennials. By incorporating technology into the wine business, wineries will not only attract younger, available talent, but they will also gain tremendous efficiencies and insights in their business.

Mary Pratt describes business intelligence and analytics as one of the hottest tech skills for 2017 in her Computerworld article, “10 hottest tech skills for 2017”. As data becomes more available, it will become important for organizations to use it to gain insights, generate reports, and make decisions. Therefore, wineries should create attractive business intelligence opportunities that call for data analysis and reporting skills. Millennials who are trained in data analysis can integrate these skills in the industry since they have an ability to learn the software at a faster rate.

Here are some specific ways that wineries can use business intelligence and how millennials can support these initiatives:

Digital marketing and social media strategies

Wineries can consider adopting more digital marketing and social media strategies into their organizations. These opportunities result in the creation of more sales & marketing job opportunities. Wineries need and use data and analytics to track sales, understand their customers, and analyze information to make better decisions. Millennials can contribute their skills here by aiding in faster generation of reports using business intelligence software. Millennials can also help wineries understand their customer base through marketing strategies and collection of data for analytics. Business intelligence helps wineries analyze through marketing initiatives how often consumers are buying their products, how much of their products are being purchased, what is selling well and what isn’t.

Understanding data across enterprise departments

Business intelligence can be used to analyze data across the entirety of a wine business. Each department of an organization can incorporate business intelligence into their daily workflow. For example, a finance department can use BI to determine which products are most profitable, figure out the impact of a price change on profits, and generate revenue reports. An operations department can monitor information on production based on sales goals or also determine goals based on current data. A marketing department can analyze what marketing initiatives have been/haven’t been successful and budget costs towards product promotions. A human resources department can manage information about their employees with business intelligence. And, finally, the executive management can measure performance against their competitors in the marketplace and look at an entire organization’s data in one place to make data-driven decisions.

Millennials can support this initiative in various job positions by generating reports with business intelligence software. Millennials’ understanding of technology will allow them to quickly learn how to operate business intelligence software and analyze data at a faster rate than older adults. This will result increased efficiency and productivity as well as faster and better decision-making by executive management.

Executive decisions

The wine business has intense competition, and as a result, the industry operates as “almost business-on demand”. An order that is placed today is expected to be delivered tomorrow. The industry allows no room for error or downtime. Suppliers and distributors generate so many reports – monthly, quarterly, or annually across most of their brands. Typically, within organizations, there are teams of people who dedicate many weeks each month doing calculations manually for reports. However, as the amount of available data increases, these people don’t have the time to spend generating reports manually. Therefore, it’s important for wineries to adopt business intelligence so that required data can be pulled quickly and reports can be automatically generated at fast rates. It’s also important for them to hire the right staff who understands this technology and can quickly implement change within the organization.

What’s next for the wine business?

Increased use of business intelligence can help wineries become more successful by helping them better understand their businesses. As technology and the role of data analytics increase, it will become more important for these wineries to adapt to the digital age. Data analytics will become more important, and using it can give wineries a leg up in the industry. And as the job market continues to become tight, wineries can create innovative job opportunities for the most tech-savvy generation to-date: millennials.

Natalie Cantave