Today’s businesses must manage a continually expanding array of data, content and digital assets as well as satisfy the demands of consumers for comprehensive product information. Addressing these challenges requires unified processes and automated systems and, most importantly, the ability to augment and enrich product information. Our earlier PIM research found that more than half (52%) of organizations have incompatible tools and almost half (48%) must cope with disparate forms of data. These are situations that lead to wasted time and inefficiency in checking for errors and reconciling data across systems.
To provide an effective product experience for consumers, customers and partners as well as throughout the supply chain, organizations must deliver accurate, consistent and actionable product information. Doing this will enhance visibility into and engagement with product information and can help organizations increase revenue and satisfy customers. Moreover, it is impossible to deliver the best possible customer experience without a great product experience; in our earlier benchmark research on this topic, three in five organizations (61%) cited improving the customer experience as a benefit they realized from their investment into product information management (PIM).
Against this backdrop, Ventana Research is undertaking new benchmark research on Product Experience Management (PXM) to determine awareness and adoption of a new generation of product information management software that focuses on product experiences and the underlying processes and systems required to meet today’s and tomorrow’s challenges. The new research will explore organizations’ experiences with deployment of PIM systems and issues they have faced in efforts to align business and IT resources and spending with organizational information management objectives. Those efforts often require the integration of supplier and customer information, increased use of online channels and synchronization of updates to product information that may be spread across global markets.
We also will investigate the market performance and maturity of organizations’ implementations of PIM or those systems supporting it and their current or planned use of technologies including cloud computing, mobile, collaboration, artificial intelligence and machine learning, and big data. It will examine how and to what extent they have addressed the people, process, information and technology aspects of improving data quality, integration and consistency; enabled B2B and supplier integration through online channels and services; provided a single view of products, materials and attributes for business intelligence and analytics; and established a central resource for better control and security of product information.
Managing product information can be a difficult challenge as industries, organizations and even individuals within them frequently use different names, attributes, images and related information about products for the same purpose. Disparities often exist across departments. Additionally, organizations regularly add suppliers to their business networks and increase the number and variety of products they offer without utilizing already defined and agreed-upon product information. In addition, today’s customers expect to have a delightful product experience that provides information on their mobile devices, and commerce across sites and social media introduces challenges for a unified experience. Finally, and perhaps most importantly, product information today must have a visual component, from images and video to social ratings and reviews.
Competitive pressures require that the information presented is not only up-to-date and accurate but engaging in its presentation.
These advances not only bring additional content and data into organizations’ information systems, they often introduce new inconsistencies in how products and attributes are combined. Yet competitive pressures require that the information presented is not only up-to-date and accurate but engaging in its presentation — in other words, an effective product experience. Organizations also need systems that enable intelligent processes to run continuously and uninterrupted and that use machine learning and analytics to identify issues and opportunities to exploit the power of product information. In addition, analytics can provide insight on the use of product information and where collaborative actions need to be taken for improvement.
In most organizations, product information is spread across websites, applications, digital asset management systems, databases, spreadsheets and other systems, each of which can have its own ways of presenting the information, resulting in disparate product experiences. A related issue is the difficulty of exchanging, integrating and synchronizing product information across the diverse systems and services used directly by buyers, customers and business partners, typically outside of enterprise systems, and in cloud computing environments such as digital commerce, marketplaces and CRM systems. Slow and incomplete integration processes prevent organizations from easily gaining a single view of products for controlling and updating the information to enable a product experience that’s consistent for employees, partners and customers.
Click here to participate in this research, and here to learn more about Ventana Research’s methodology and large body of research on the Customer Experience, Marketing, the Office of Sales and Operations and the Supply Chain — expertise areas that require PXM. The breadth of this research over more than a decade has given us insight into trends that affect IT departments and the needs of other parts of the organization. Our research findings have consistently found a connection between not using the right software (or using appropriate technology improperly) and not performing well.