Smart people rely on strategic
The introduction of a Product Information Management system is a major challenge: you can’t just install a piece of software and think that you have everything sorted out. You have to think ahead, involve relevant stakeholders, analyse processes and structures and consider how to minimise costs and risks. These are typical tasks for which companies should rely on the services of an external, experienced PIM consultant, as, quite often, they do not have the time nor enough experts in-house.
When introducing a new PIM system, businesses are often overwhelmed by the complexity of the tasks at hand. This is not surprising, considering that companies do not buy a new Product Information Management system every week and cannot draw on experience from similar projects. They cannot anticipate sources of error and cannot always keep an eye on all important details. It is essential for businesses that want to introduce a new PIM system to have a professional consultant to guide them through the project. You can only avoid mistakes, reduce risks and keep costs as low as possible if you have experienced professionals at your side. The following sections outline some of the typical tasks of PIM consultants and point out the situations in which they can provide valuable support.
PIM – A key element of your digital strategy
Ideally, you should involve PIM consultants right from the start. Many companies tend to forget that implementing such a system is always a strategic issue, because it will affect many different departments. Managing product data is not just a matter of technology. PIM consultants have many years of experience and in-depth knowledge of the market and the available technology. They will assist you in effectively integrating the new software into your organisation and will support you in achieving your strategic goals. In the process, they will involve all the relevant departments. Simply installing new software does not solve any problems with product data. The right product information must be available in the right place at the right time and in high quality. To this end, you need to know who does what in your company, when, and what. What impact would this have on the next steps in the process? These few questions already show how important goal-oriented PIM consulting is. Such a project always entails significant changes in processes and responsibilities. A good PIM consultant knows that one of the keys to a successful project is an active commitment by the key stakeholders – at the highest level.
Joint effort with the management
A PIM project should be initiated by the management. The success or failure of any project often hinges on how well the senior management supports the project. Top management support can help break down the project to other departments, where it can be implemented effectively. A PIM consultant involves different organisational levels and different units at the same time, from the management level to the IT department and all other relevant departments. This is precisely one of the most important aspects of PIM consulting: to know how to set up a project in close cooperation with the management so that it can be carried out successfully and efficiently.
Strategic PIM consulting
A PIM consultant provides support at different levels. At the executive level, he will ensure that the project scope incorporates all aspects of corporate strategy, that all relevant departments are taken into account and that the right project team is set up. PIM consulting clarifies questions on target group analysis or how changes in processes can affect corporate strategy. It also shows how to achieve business goals or reduce costs through more effective processes.
Operational PIM consulting
PIM consultants are also experts in all operational aspects. They assist the different departments in drawing up the technical details and provide the necessary support throughout the implementation process. Qualified, external advice is particularly useful where day-to-day processing of product data is concerned. Product information is often generated or imported by different departments within a company – but in some cases, these departments do not even know each other. As a result, you will have various departments working very inefficiently to manage information about the same product created in different places and different ways – and unfortunately also in different formats. A PIM consultant can help you to get a good overview. He determines where the information is stored, who creates it and in accordance with which guidelines. He will also advise on how to standardise and consolidate this information so that, in the future, it can be accessed centrally from anywhere in the company.
PIM consultants as project managers
The consulting partner is responsible for ensuring that the project runs smoothly. As a rule, the project manager is also a PIM expert, provided by the consulting partner. However, in order to implement the project efficiently and cost-effectively, the PIM consultant should have adequate decision-making power within the company. He is responsible for consolidating all requirements from the departments, acts as a link between the company and the software vendor and ensures that the list of requirements is implemented successfully.
At which stage of the project does it make sense to involve a PIM consultant?
As soon as a company identifies a need for action, they should involve a PIM consultant. It is difficult for a company to have to deal with digitisation and future issues in addition to their day-to-day business. A consulting partner can provide the necessary support for a PIM system. An external PIM consultant is a partner who assists a company during the entire project implementation. The consultant’s aim should not be to take over tedious tasks that would otherwise be left undone. Rather, they should work hand-in-hand with the company to identify and solve problems, develop strategies, and determine how they can be leveraged in the future to ensure economic success.
The consultant as a sparring partner
Successful companies often call on external expertise – someone who can examine their business strategy from an objective, impartial standpoint, which often leads to more accurate problem-identification and more effective solutions. The expertise and in-depth market knowledge of PIM consultants are essential for the software selection process, especially when dealing with different domains and interdisciplinary user groups. They are also invaluable, for example, when conducting a target group analysis, when segmenting your audience with persona methods or when asking questions about output channels and data flows that are needed for the business model to succeed. External consultants know that. By providing support in managing the product data that is generated, they can help companies improve their customer journey and customer experience, enabling the company to gain a competitive edge with a new or enhanced PIM system.
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