Although data is the lifeblood of the digitization process, ‘the more, the merrier’ theory does not hold good anymore. The exponential growth of data in the last few years has been more of a deterrent than an enabler of business transformation for most enterprises. According to IDC, more than five billion people have daily interaction with data, and by 2025, this figure will grow to six billion – approximately 3/4th of the world’s population. For many enterprises, the biggest challenge today is getting this mind-boggling data to work for them; it’s like making music out of chaos. Modern-day businesses need one trusted version of data – a single source of truth (SSOT) – that can be successfully exploited to drive scalability and business growth.
A single source of truth enables businesses to view and access a centralized repository of all product-related information with a complete, accurate, holistic picture of the product. This includes technical specifications, usage data, emotional messaging, marketing media, product components, descriptions, and additional digital assets. This dire need for SSOT for product data management stems from the fact that product data is collected from multiple sources across the organization to help suppliers, partners, retailers, end-customers, and multiple other stakeholders. It is housed in various legacy systems like enterprise resource planning (ERP), customer relationship management (CRM), local hard drives, and/or other repositories. Having a single source of truth helps compile and consolidate data from multiple sources, match and merge information records, and identify and fix data issues by implementing data quality rules. This is critical for businesses who wish to deliver rich product experience in any language and on any device to customers, channel partners, and sales teams.
A single source of truth (SSOT) for your product data can be a game-changer for driving operational excellence, gaining deeper insights on the opportunity funnel, and generating new revenue streams. It can be implemented for improving customer experiences, exploring new markets, improving processes, and even for defining new competitive advantage parameters.
Let’s take a deep dive into some of the other benefits of having an SSOT for product data:
- Build customer-centric experience
In today’s fast-paced, hyper-connected, and technology-driven business environment, it is critical to delivering accurate product information to your customers at every touchpoint. Customer satisfaction depends heavily on providing a superior, compelling, and seamless omnichannel customer experience. Overcoming product data challenges like circulating ‘bad data’, failing to maintain consistency in the communications, providing outdated information, or even providing the right information but in the wrong format across channels is the first step in transforming the buyer journey. This is where a sophisticated SSOT solution comes into play as it can organize, align, and simplify product data in an efficient and cost-effective manner. With SSOT, businesses can have a 360° view of product data for consolidating and showcasing all the data into a single record. This helps in creating a well-cataloged product portfolio, including all information assets like textual material, product images, product sheets, videos, properties, and more. By connecting the rich product content and digital assets to product master data, businesses can easily create flawless, omnichannel customer-centric experiences. This improves customer engagement through direct commerce and service channels and ensures long-term business success.
- Improve reachability and operational excellence
Most large enterprises and many SMBs have multi-functional teams working in tandem and interacting across multiple contact channels. In order to avoid the ensuing communication chaos, the need for seamless collaboration across different departments cannot be overlooked. Having a single source of truth (SSOT) for product data is critical as it helps organize, synchronize, preserve, and share product information across all channels of interaction. This not only eliminates data silos but also fosters collaboration, enabling teams to function as cohesive units. This is extremely helpful since data silos act as speed-breakers and hamper coordination as valuable time is wasted in unearthing and decoding data. By consolidating all available product data, a centralized repository provides the much-needed data reliability and makes data available in a standardized format so different teams can collaborate simultaneously. Having a single, trusted, and shareable version of product data improves operational efficiency, pumps up productivity, and reduces time-to-market. It supports a centralized use case, with product data authored in a single system and synchronized with multiple customer touchpoints for an omnichannel and unified commerce experience.
- Ensure product data governance and stewardship
While synchronizing product information across heterogeneous data sources, preserving the integrity of the data passing through different hands is a critical mandate. Managing information governance is an integral part of business governance processes that require placing people and processes at the highest priority and empowering them with automation to securely deliver trusted data to users across the enterprise. With a single source of truth (SSOT), implementing information governance and stewardship of key product data assets can be easily achieved by integrating specified rules to optimize communication delivery based on customer type, time zone, preferences, etc. SSOT enables the creation of data definitions, data quality rules, access controls, regulations, and privacy policies to ensure availability, usability, security, and integrity of data. SSOT directs the data flux to pass through a prism of defined data rules for format adjustments, value alterations, flow administration, and overall management for optimum use. It ultimately helps execute these rules and enforce policies and guidelines to enable proper data controls across the organization. With SSOT, any data governance program can be strategically planned and perfectly executed to enhance the product data’s value and versatility and provide valuable insights for long-term business decisions.
- Get valuable insights
Today, product data is acknowledged as one of the core components of enterprise data management strategy. Business leaders across industries are intensely focusing on rich product data in a variety of use cases, including eCommerce, mCommerce, pricing optimization, supply-chain efficiency, advanced inventory modeling, process automation, and unified commerce enablement. Flowing through multiple departments and directly interacting with end-customers, product data has many insights like channel specifications and new customer demands locked inside that can be harnessed with adequate data management. Organizations need to standardize, optimize, and enrich product information consistently, holistically, and analytically for discovering emerging business insights and opportunities. Implementing best practices in content integration and data flow across multiple business functions is essential for gleaning valuable inferences and eliminating roadblocks. All this and more are possible with a single source of truth (SSOT) that can allow business leaders to incorporate transactional, interactional, observational, and analytics data with product data for gaining actionable insights for revenue growth. It can empower decision-makers with the right data for improved data intelligence capabilities and help predict future market trends.
- Create new business values
Consistent and accurate product data across the value chain helps in unlocking deeper business values and creating differentiated customer experiences. This requires managing and streamlining every aspect of product information which, in turn, ensures global standardization, channel flexibility, and implementation feasibility for multiple touchpoints. Synchronizing and syndicating product information across different partners and vendors helps in unlocking the potential for new business value creation. This is possible with unified, accurate, and trusted product data available at a single location with SSOT. Apart from consolidating information, SSOT also helps enterprises in combining product data from multiple sources, generating delivery channel-specific output files, and simplifying the creation of highly personalized communication. SSOT-enabled real-time interaction with data draws a detailed map of what’s happening now. With business analytics and performance solutions, companies can conveniently find and forecast trends in sales, turnover, and growth. The timely synchronization of product data also supports an extended value chain between the organization and its partners by facilitating supply chain optimization or order fulfillment accuracy. It can also help businesses launch products faster and enhance customer experience with tailored offerings.
With increasing dependence on data and analytics to transform product information assets into valuable enterprise intelligence, a single source of truth for product data is a clear differentiator. It helps enterprises realize significant business value with regard to omnichannel compatibility, multidomain implementation, and low total cost of ownership (TCO).
Vandana Singal is Director, Solution Consulting at Pimcore Global Services (A Happiest Minds Company).