Get your sh*t together.
In 2021, businesses have an ever-increasing need of spreading their data in different channels and different languages. The types of communication and data can vary from channel to channel, but when it comes to product data the needs are always the same. It needs to be reliable, up-to-date - and consistent. And when you’re a small start-up, handling information like this might be achievable via an excel spreadsheet (or a really, really good brain), but as your business grows this becomes ever more and more intangible.
Enter: a Product Information Management system – or PIM. A centralized system making the management of complex data easy, and which can be adapted to suit an extreme variety of businesses.
Why a PIM, and who is it for?
We meet clients daily that struggle to keep up with their product information, both in text and images, in different languages and channels. OK, so that “channel” word we tend to use a lot, what’s that all about? Well, a channel could be your website, e-commerce, internal digital sales tool – or even printed matter like brochures, catalogues and ads. Or to be a bit more vague – a channel is simply a flow of information centered around your products or services, directed at a specific receiving channel.
We often meet customers whose days are consumed by email routines to colleagues in random geographical locations to ask for documentation. In a specific language, if the version they have is up-to-date, or if the information exists at all. Not only is this extremely time-consuming, it is also prone to errors and mistakes. The people doing this work often work over different markets and have no higher wish than for some sort of tool making their lives easier - and end product better.
By now it’s probably clear to you if this could be for you, or not. If not, we’d say that if one of the following scenarios are true, you should definitely consider getting one:
- “We have different internal departments who work in different tools, handling product data towards different channels.”
- “We sell our products on different markets, in different languages.”
- “Our organization is spread over different geographical places but depends on the same product information.”
- “The data on our website is pretty extensive, and we can not expect to have it updated in the CMS by all stakeholders.”
Single source of "Truth"
With a PIM, you have all your product information for all channels, markets and languages in one place. But more importantly, you know that this is also your one true source of product information and you don’t have to search the organization for what you need. If it’s not in the PIM, it doesn’t exist. And if it needs to be created, a work flow can easily be established to make it happen (so called “enrichment”, more on that later on). You can see if the actual information has been approved by all concerned parties, and if it's ready to be distributed or not. Correctly set up, you can even see in what part of the life cycle the product is, and in what channels it is currently available in.
One of the key selling points of a PIM is the possibility of setting up crystal clear workflows. You can set up notifications when something has been added to the system and that needs your attention in order to be enriched with more information. With the help of statuses or Completeness you can determine how much more work is required to make a product or service ready to be distributed and sent to the channels of your choice. As part of the workflow, you can notify your colleagues that you are ready with your parts and someone else needs to contribute with their parts. With correctly set up workflows, you will know exactly what’s expected of you, and the system will present you with a todo-list with an overview of the actions you need to perform.
Quality and follow-up
With a PIM you’ll have the possibility to work in a structured manner to follow up on your data and you can easily establish routines to ensure quality over time. Find out what products that lack pictures of products in the field, or what products created in the last month that lack a french translation? Or what products that are not published in a specific channel yet? Make bulk changes of products published during a certain period?
Easy. The search and filtering options of a competent PIM makes queries like this a breeze, as well as making the bulk changes that will give you a faster time to market and more accurate product data.
What’s in it for you?
Except more content co-workers that always know how to find the latest product information and make it easier for them to create their data, you will also ensure a more coherent experience for your clients in all channels. As a customer, you want to know how to find the data you're looking for, no matter the context. With a PIM you will have all the tools needed to work with product information in an efficient, structured and qualitative way. No more duplicates based on the simple fact that you did not know that information was already available for a product that you’re trying to get to market, no more pressure on your customer service due to different channels saying different things.
Why SQLI can get your shit together
SQLI is one of the leading PIM providers in Northern Europe.We have been working with inRiver PIM since 2011 and have to date completed over 25 projects. We are a trusted partner at inRiver, and as participants in their InRiver Champion program, we have direct opportunities to influence the development and roadmap of the platform.
If you feel like you need more information, or simply want to know more about what we at SQLI can do for you - please give Bengt Wessborg a call on +46 (0)768 67 02 03!