Akeneo: PIM Vendor in Focus
In this series we talk to a selection of software vendors about their product management solutions, their USPs and digital trends. Tobias Schlotter, General Manager Central & Eastern Europe at Akeneo, sees product information management no longer as a purely technical task but critical to creating a compelling customer experience.
Which digital trends are relevant for you and your customers? What effect do they have and/or what developments can be expected for your product and/or company as a result?
There are many digital trends that are relevant and important to our clients because our client base is very large and diverse. The essence from many projects and conversations is that companies are rethinking and moving from just managing information to designing, engaging and differentiating shopping experiences. The vision of Product Experience Management (PXM) is being concretely tackled by more and more companies – also in B2B, as the example of BÜCHI shows (recommendation!).
PXM is not a tool that you buy – PXM is a strategy, a journey that we at Akeneo accompany and divide into different development stages (find more about this here). It is a process – and that is why fast, agile approaches have also arrived in the field of product information management. With the MVP approach, companies can quickly (further) develop the topic and find their own way – with a system that grows with you and can be adapted to new needs with just a few clicks.
Moreover, the automation of processes and tasks that (still too often) mean manual work – which entails error-proneness and a lack of efficiency – is in full swing.
We clearly see that companies that know how to focus their resources on more value-adding tasks and create shopping experiences instead of doing “busywork” are gaining advantages. Automation and optimisation thanks to machine support are topics that will be accompanying us over the next few years – and we are excited to be able to support our customers in this process.
Problem-solving orientation: name three distinctive features that stand out your solution from the competition?
From day one, we focus on usability – because a software is only really accepted by users if it quickly provides benefits, users enjoy working with it and it makes their everyday life easier. In addition, we attach great importance to the fact that in a fast-moving time, in which change will never be as slow as it is today, companies receive both a flexible solution that can be adapted and one that offers high scalability. Start quickly, benefit from it quickly and optimise it little by little. Unlike others, we see ourselves as a business solution for marketing and product teams, and less as a purely technical solution. And that’s exactly what our customers appreciate about Akeneo as a software, as well as a company.
From which company size is the use of your product management solution beneficial? Is your system optimised for a specific target group?
As an open source solution, Akeneo is very widely used and has a very large user and customer base due to its easy access and high adaptability. Both in B2B (Grundfos, Adam Hall, Remmers, Air Liquide, Mann+Hummel and many more) and in B2C (FOSSIL, PUKY, LAMY, Snipes, Carhartt and many more), from small players to global corporations, product information is “brewed” into product experiences.
Where do companies have the greatest need for action today? What do you advise your customers to do in addition to the introduction of a PIM in order to remain fit for the future?
As already mentioned, we see the need to increase efficiency and reduce errors in the handling of product data. Certainly, this also means a rethinking of product information management to some extent – it is no longer a purely technical task that is hung up on IT but is critical to creating a compelling customer experience. In our 2020 survey “Product Experience Management around the World: How B2B vendors manage their product experience to meet customers’ expectations” (1,600 participants in 7 countries), 97% confirmed that they see product information as a key tool for improving the customer experience.
This new “framing” of product information management means that educational work is needed internally and the relevance or the actual contribution to value creation must be brought to the front.
Furthermore, we also see that digitalisation is bringing two approaches even more to the front:
1) The approach of using the best system for each purpose, because specialisation is necessary with increasing complexity (the so-called best-of-breed approach – especially for the topic of product information management!) and integrating these optimally with each other.
2) The topic Cloud has just shown in 2020 that companies that enable location-independent working were able to react far more flexibly – the trend towards Cloud infrastructures will be confirmed. Companies should clearly rely on the cloud and SaaS for future viability – this way they always have the best possible system, a minimal TCO, and users can access it from anywhere.
What opportunities are there to get to know or test your product?
The Akeneo PIM is available as a free download in the Community Edition – and of course we also offer straightforward guided demos for an overview of our Enterprise Edition with our experts.
Akeneo is one of the world’s leading solution providers in the field of Product Experience Management (PXM) and Product Information Management (PIM).
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Tobias Schlotter has been General Manager Central & Eastern Europe at Düsseldorf office of Akeneo since 2016.
Learn more: Akeneo