In our second episode of B2B commerce uncut, we brought together Joe Albrecht, Xngage CEO and Chief Digital Executive with Ali Hanyaloglu, Akeneo Senior Director of Product Marketing, to shed light on product standardization.
Behind the scenes of any B2B eCommerce operation, there are many moving parts. You have physical activities like production, transportation, storage, and getting orders into customers’ hands. Then there are back-office activities like inventory management, warehouse management, and fulfillment management.
All that produces lots of data – data that needs to connect and get updated across systems. In this discussion on data management in B2B eCommerce, we also uncovered some interesting insights and best practices along the way.
Our Guests at a Glance
Does data syndication and standardization matter?
Data is key to selling – from research to decision making, believes Hanyaloglu. “By not taking into account how customers find out about you, and getting to know what you offer… By not being consistent or correct with information…” Customers will not only abandon you, but they will also leave dissatisfied – causing damage to your brand.
Data can also be used to set yourself apart, believes Albrecht. “If everyone has the same data, it’s not going to be very unique to your business.” Nike is a great example of a company that engages content and differentiates in the market.
When is the time to start talking about data standardization?
“It depends on when you ask this question,” admits Albrecht. Product data, for instance, is a critical asset for everything online. “So the answer for when to start synchronizing product data is yesterday.”
However, getting data too late into the system is a common pitfall clients get themselves into. “It’s not something you do after you finished your replatforming, or digital transformation effort,” believes Hanyaloglu. “Don’t get that technology in place, and then say, Okay, now let’s clean up the data. That’s garbage in – garbage out.”
Who in the organization has to own the process?
“Think about how your data is used,” says Hanyaloglu. Whether you’re going multinational, forging partnerships, or building out marketplaces – these all require different approaches. “The other dimension is around goals and KPIs, where you’re balancing getting products to market and trying not to lose business as a result.”
“Leadership backing is essential here,” believes Albrecht. “Leaders are ultimately responsible for making sure data is an important topic.” Without that data, it’s going to be very hard to succeed in a digital world. So I think it’s a leadership topic first and foremost.
Quotes and Takeaways
When we talk about product data, what do we mean by product data? There are all different data types that can be considered there. So outside of the PIM eCommerce world, data starts and ends in systems like ERP (enterprise resource planning) and PLM, (product life cycle management) on the manufacturing side.
If there’s one compelling reason why data matters, it’s just how much you miss out when you don’t have it.
Or it can be more complex, where you’re choosing based on attributes, facets, options, or maybe even configurations. If you don’t have the answers to that, then how can you optimize the experience?
The way I tend to look at things from both a business and architecture perspective is how is this information going to be used.
Therefore, one or the other systems that are going to be leveraging it as well as what is going to be measured in terms of its impact. Then work backward to what technology makes sense, that is going to be able to leverage that information, as seamlessly as possible without having to jump through massive hurdles.
Listen to the whole episode here: