How to Achieve Financial Growth and Operational Efficiency with PIM & MDM

As the PIM & MDM Practice Lead at Codifyd, I have the privilege of attending various MDM conferences throughout the country and bringing back new insight so I can better serve our clients. These conferences give me the opportunity to keep up with industry trends and avoid “tunnel vision expertise” as the area of MDM evolves year after year.

The most recent event I attended is the MDM & Data Governance Summit earlier this month. This event is the leading conference in this space, and it’s held twice a year in New York City and San Francisco.

Going to the conference last week in New York City really cemented my ideology because I know this is the evolution of our space. I’m truly excited to continue evangelizing, consulting, implementing and growing with my clients to achieve true financial growth and operational efficiency.

In this post, I share some of my ideologies around PIM and MDM, solidified by the MDM & Data Governance conference I attended in NYC.

The Benefits of Product Information Management in B2B

My work life revolves around solving data problems – mostly in the B2B world, and typically with the core data elements around product content. Centralizing and mastering data within the product world can be life changing for a company. These actions create enterprise organization within departments, efficiency in mastering product data, and overall revenue growth once that beautiful master data is leveraged into a variety of syndication efforts such as e-commerce, custom digital catalogs, and 3rd party procurement.

With a calculated roadmap that matches business goals and the right tools in place, a robust product information management program can turn a business around in ways that organizations may not initially realize.

Solving Data Challenges with Product Information Management

Over the years, I’ve worked with hundreds of clients to achieve their data goals. In the recent years, we hear these stories over and over again from clients:

“Get our products on Amazon ASAP!” – says the manufacturer

“Help us refine onboarding processes to compete against Amazon!” – says the distributor

“We need a way to enrich product and SKUs to be purchasable online!” – say both

We love taking data challenges head on. In the case of product information management, the first step is typically to identify business gaps and select a PIM, and then it’s time to roll up our sleeves and create a process to pump life into their product set to 1) increase revenues across the board and 2) stay even in the ever involving digital marketplace.

Master Data Management for B2B Manufacturers & Distributors

But what about the rest of your data? How do we take one element [product] and layer it into an overall Master Data Management philosophy and governance against your vendor data, customer data, competitor data, and other ancillary collected, otherwise known as “Big Data”?  

Master Data Management is not pigeonholed around product for B2B manufacturers and distributors. Customer Master is not exclusive to service industries in financial or healthcare sectors. Organizations must expand their horizons to build on top of PIM and all the inefficiencies included. They must accelerate growth through targeted and curated offerings to current and prospective customers.

It’s time organizations get motivated to act on “multi-domain” master data offerings.  Let’s leverage actionable and predictive analytics that cross data paths between all elements described.

With an equipped tool belt packed with industry knowledge and data expertise, Codifyd is ready for the next frontier. Join us in the new wave of data efficiency.

Optimizing the Digital Shelf for E-Commerce Success

Your digital product is your lifeline. Without it, prepare to go the way of many sellers who over-invested in the notion that digital adoption was only a facet of their business and not the defining element of company success.

To put this in context, as of June 2017, a staggering 5,300 retail stores have announced they will be closing their doors, even though apparel sales are expected to rise in 2017, with e-commerce accounting for 17% of revenue. It may seem harsh but this is the Now. Very soon 3-D printing, virtual and augmented reality, smart sensors and AI will be tools that businesses regularly harness to engage clients in a unit-level, customized product journey.

So where does digital product content & information fit into this story?

Product content is the core element that enables you to develop your digital presence and prepare to harness the technological disruption that is breaking dawn on the horizon of B2B.

From the days of print catalog to the information you choose to display through your e-commerce platform, and even to your back-end investments in technology (ERP, DAM, MDM, PIM), the persistent element that remains is the data that creates a digital representation of your physical product and drives customer experience.

B2B buyers demand expert content at all points in the buying journey

This attention to product data robustness, customized product user experiences and aligned business objectives that enable digital transformation are even more important in B2B.

The more complex the product, the greater the focus must be on the way you translate your product expertise into digital form and engage customers with expert-level content.

Where once great consideration went into ensuring your brick and mortar locations portrayed your product knowledge and displayed items in an orderly and categorized fashion, it is now time to prioritize the transformation of your organization in preparation of the digital era.

Optimizing the digital shelf with product data

In the end, it is the intersection of your product with customer data that is the driving force behind digital transformation.  In practice, it is in mobilizing product data to effectively interact with users, supported by technologies that enable this process.

As Amazon has shown, your physical product is no longer the first element of ensuring client conversion – it is now final. That’s it. Because by the time the product arrives at their doorstep, the customer has already developed the necessary trust and conducted the requisite research to identify and purchase it.

Your Digital Shelf is the new storefront: open 24/7 and accessible on the go through mobile technology. But does it cater to your customers’ needs and provide them a direct feed of product expertise?

Takeaways from EnterWorks Engage: Engineering End-User Experiences with Product Content

I spent three days last week at the EnterWorks Engage User conference in Nashville, Tennessee. The participants in this gathering came from many different industries—food service and supply, MRO/Industrial distribution, manufacturing, and retail. Many were seasoned users of EnterWorks’ Enable software. Some were beginners showing up for expert training, and others were checking out the landscape of PIM solutions to see what is right for their organization.

Aside from the delicious food (Nashville hot chicken? Johnnycakes? Don’t mind if I do!) there was a massive amount of knowledge to take advantage of. It was a real pleasure to interact with such an intelligent and driven group, and to present on the importance of data governance.

Don’t Allow Product Content to be an Afterthought

The one thing that all these users had in common was the acknowledgement that product content is a driver of their business, not an afterthought. Investing in the tools to manage your content is the first step in creating a world-class digital experience. It was enlightening to see how people from many different backgrounds approach the complex demands of engineering with the right kind of digital assets to match their business goals. Regardless of industry, there were some common themes I saw come up over and over again. Here are my takeaways.

1. Focus on end-to-end solutions

Purchasing software is not a magic bullet for all your business woes, and anyone who claims otherwise is either naïve or trying to fleece you. It’s not that there aren’t amazing software solutions out there, rather, software alone can’t dictate strategy, governance, or content standards.

I spoke during the conference on best practices in data governance, a complicated topic whose surface I could only barely scratch during my half-hour time slot. An effective data governance approach requires both discipline and enforcement, but also flexibility and quick adaptivity when quantitative measures dictate a new direction. Leadership in content means thinking about the ultimate end user of your data. These days, you’re not just identifying a product on the web, you’re engineering an experience.

2. Choose your partners for maximum advantage

Codifyd is a preferred implementation partner for EnterWorks. In fact, we partner with several PIM solution providers, and what really impressed me about the folks I met at EnterWorks is their intellectual engagement. They’re always looking for ways to improve not only their product, but their relationships with their users.

3. Work towards a minimum viable product

Shifting your focus to using content strategically can seem daunting. There are so many things to consider: defining workflows, constructing integrations between upstream and downstream systems, and cleansing or building out your existing content. By the time you’re ready to go live with the results of an eighteen-month-long project, the industry will have moved on. Things happen in the digital age at, quite literally, the speed of light. Jump in. Identify, target, and prioritize the categories, products, or process improvements that will move the needle.

4. Push the boundaries of what content can do

From resolving channel conflict with sophisticated automation tools and analytics, to approaching web content with an eye to design, to playing with augmented reality, the industry is serious about leveraging their content to go above and beyond. Don’t get left behind!

Overall, I truly enjoyed learning more about the challenges businesses are facing when it comes to managing their data. And it seems that with the right combination of technology and people, organizations are meeting these challenges in innovative ways. If these are some of your organizational goals for the upcoming year, chat with us. We’re happy to guide you towards digital success.

The Industrial Distributor of the Future

In 2012, Amazon launched Amazonsupply.com and Google followed with the Google Shopping for Suppliers (now Google Shopping) e-commerce site to address the way modern B2B buyers purchased products.

However, the success of an e-commerce website is completely dependent on the quality of the product content. A product Master Data Management (MDM) strategy includes centralized, normalized, optimized, and enriched product content that is easy to find, intuitive and descriptive in order to enable the buyer to quickly make a purchasing decision.

Watch Codifyd webinar

This educational webcast discusses:

> How companies that successfully complete product MDM initiatives are achieving a significant competitive advantage over their peers.
> How MDM initiatives can drive a global customer experience that helps companies compete with the AmazonSupplys and best target the habits of millennial buyers.
> Common mistakes for product content management, often traced back to a “technology-first” approach versus a “product content-first” strategy.