Companies have now realised that product information management is important but are not sure how to improve things.
Marketing managers and their colleagues in charge of digital content are aware that important information seems to be in silos spread across myriad departments. Spreadsheets with hundreds of columns are used to store attributes data and hundreds of Word documents or InDesign files are used to create datasheets.
The InDesign / PDF version of a company’s catalogue is the main instrument for the marketing department. The marketing and technical teams may have spent months or years preparing it and checking and re-checking every page. When they get to the final version that everyone has contributed to and contains the corrections for all the specifications they find that the best data the company has is locked in the InDesign document and PDF and not available to anyone else!
Furthermore the web site probably gets its data from another file that is stored on the server. This is yet another spreadsheet with hundreds of columns that must be updated with the same data.
It’s likely companies are synchronising data from:
- Word documents for datasheets and features
- InDesign files for brochures and catalogues
- CSV files for web site
- Excel spreadsheets for technical team
Product images are usually spread across the company with different sizes, formats and locations. Image requests come in wholesaler or retail partners and staff will likely be solving the same problem again every time a request comes in, meeting one customer’s requirements only for a similar request to come in a few weeks later and having to do it all again.
Keeping on top data and image management
There is a limit on what your staff can do to keep all these different data sources synchronised.
This synchronisation is almost impossible to do without a Product Information Management system (PIM) built for this purpose. A system is required that allows everyone in the company to work together on a common platform so that product information and images are only entered one time.
If the right system is implemented at the source a whole host of benefits will cascade through the company; your staff will have more time, your wholesale and retail customers will be happier and fewer mistakes in product data will help to increase sales.
By removing the friction from having to manage data from disparate sources staff will focus more clearly on their own respective roles in marketing or product development.
Wholesaler and retail partners will appreciate that great images and product information will allow them to better promote products to sell more.
Web design partners will be happier because they will have APIs with direct access to the prime data source that everyone is always keeping up to date.
Becoming more competitive
The PIM system will be at the heart of the company. If it works well it should become almost unnoticeable. It should just work – reliably, securely and with ease. Staff get their work done, day in day out, without thinking about it. The anxiety, frustration and tensions associate with managing product information disappear. A data change can be made knowing that the web site, catalogue, brochures, datasheets and partner data feeds are all silently being updated.