Product Information Management (PIM) solutions help customers that are struggling with disorganized, inefficient, and error-prone data, and digital assets. Modern PIM solutions can offer product data, assets, and workflow management within a single platform. Time to market for new products, faster product updates with fewer errors, and data governance are just a few examples of the added value that PIM can provide.
The data PIM stores goes beyond just the product description. PIM can be used to manage different types of data such as…
Technical Data – measurements, specifications, ingredients, color, weight
Usage Data – descriptions, how-to, user guides
Emotional Data – product stories, rich product descriptions, imagery
Media Files – images, PDFs, videos
PIM enables you to manage all product information across multiple channels.
WHAT IS DATA GOVERNANCE?
Data governance is the principles and practices that ensure high quality throughout the lifecycle of your data. It’s essential to be able to keep your company’s product data secure and consistent. Customers expect accurate information when making a purchasing decision, and when customers notice data inconsistencies, they immediately lose trust in the product and brand. Providing your customers accurate and insightful information about a product has a positive impact on their buying decision. If you are unable to provide them with complete and accurate information, you run the risk of losing sales.
Product information is extremely dynamic. With new products constantly being phased in and out, businesses need governance policies that can account for the constant fluctuation. When adding a new product line, it’s good practice to review the new line’s product information and adapt your existing policies and procedures. On the flip side, it’s also important to remove information that has become irrelevant and outdated. Businesses need more than just systems for managing data, they need a system of rules that have strict processes and procedures that are consistently being followed every day to ensure the highest quality information is being delivered to end-users.
WHAT ARE THE BENEFITS OF DATA GOVERNANCE?
Having an effective data governance practice in place can differentiate you from your competition and even produce additional sales. Presenting a product experience that’s error-free, fully comprehensive, and compelling, eliminates the loss in sales due to a disorganized, incomplete experience. Plus, you begin to build trust between you and your customers, ensuring that the customer is getting the product they desire based on the consistent data that describes each item.
Digital transformation is currently top of mind, especially with the impact of COVID-19. Data is becoming an asset that can determine the success of your business. Utilizing your data assets and implementing a successful digital transformation can only happen if you’re able to properly govern your data. Deploying a data governance framework that fits your organization and your future business objectives are imperative for an organization. Data governance means more accurate, cleaner data which can result in more telling analytics, better business decisions, better market positioning, and better profit margins due to the ability to decrease customer abandonment and increase customer conversion rates.
HOW DO I GET STARTED WITH DATA GOVERNANCE?
One of the first steps in starting data governance is implementing a PIM platform. Implementing PIM is a good starting point because it’s cost-effective and allows for implementation independence. Since PIM is a type of system that is often implemented by itself in a single-phase project, it doesn’t require the same organizational mobilization and dependencies on other teams within the organization that implementing an ecommerce platform might require. This may seem like a daunting task, but it can be accomplished with the right team alongside you. Plus, PIM platform solutions aren’t limited to B2B or B2C business models, they’re made flexible to fit your exact business needs.
During a PIM platform implementation, the teams and technical resources are already invested in the project to begin to fix your data issues. Once the missing or incorrect data is identified by the product team, there are a number of PIM tools that can be utilized to help create data standards policies that can start to get you on track.
Some tools that can be utilized include…
Product Completeness Objectives – allows an organization to assign varying weights to product attributes and define which attributes are most needed in order to publish a product. Additional logic can be built on top of product completeness such as restricting a workflow step until a product is deemed ‘complete’.
Restricting Data Types – applying logic to a product attribute so that only a single data type can be entered by the user. For example, if applied properly text could not be entered into an integer field.
Specifying Formatting – applying logic to a product attribute so that data can only be entered in a specific data type and format. This is crucial for standardizing data types such as dates, measurements, phone numbers, and more. For example, storing dates in one form such as MM/DD/YY instead of MM-DD-YY, or DD-MM-YY, or M,D,Y.
Controlled Value Lists – using a specific data type to create a set list of values that can be selected by a user for a given attribute. This is useful for fields where there is a set list of values that doesn’t change often.
Once you are able to identify and resolve the cause of the problem, using your PIM platform, create a plan to update your data in bulk based on the newly created standardization policies set in place.
The next step would be to make data governance a priority moving forward. A PIM implementation presents you with the opportunity to implement data governance and purge your outdated data. While it’s much easier said than done to prioritize data governance, taking small steps to begin to improve your data can make a huge difference to the success of your organization.