Category Archives: Product Information Management
Achieving and maintaining a single, semantically consistent version of master data is crucial for every organization. As many companies are moving from an account or product-centric approach to a customer-centric model, master data management is becoming an important part of their enterprise data management strategy. MDM provides the clean, consistent and connected information your organizations need for you to –
- Empower customer facing teams to capitalize on cross-sell and up-sell opportunities
- Create trusted information to improve employee productivity
- Be agile with data management so you can make confident decisions in a fast changing business landscape
- Improve information governance and be compliant with regulations
But there are challenges ahead for the organizations. As Andrew White of Gartner very aptly wrote in a blog post, we are only half pregnant with Master Data Management. Andrew in his blog post talked about increasing number of inquiries he gets from organizations that are making some pretty simple mistakes in their approach to MDM without realizing the impact of those decisions on a long run.
Over last 10 years, I have seen many organizations struggle to implement MDM in a right way. Few MDM implementations have failed and many have taken more time and incurred cost before showing value.
So, what is the secret sauce?
A key factor for a successful MDM implementation lays in mapping your business objectives to features and functionalities offered by the product you are selecting. It is a phase where you ask right questions and get them answered. There are few great ways in which organizations can get this done and talking to analysts is one of them. The other option is to attend MDM focused events that allow you to talk to experts, learn from other customer’s experience and hear about best practices.
We at Informatica have been working hard to deliver you a flexible MDM platform that provides complete capabilities out of the box. But MDM journey is more than just technology and product features as we have learnt over the years. To ensure our customer success, we are sharing knowledge and best practices we have gained with hundreds of successful MDM and PIM implementations. The Informatica MDM Day, is a great opportunity for organizations where we will –
- Share best practices and demonstrate our latest features and functionality
- Show our product capabilities which will address your current and future master data challenges
- Provide you opportunity to learn from other customer’s MDM and PIM journeys.
- Share knowledge about MDM powered applications that can help you realize early benefits
- Share our product roadmap and our vision
- Provide you an opportunity to network with other like-minded MDM, PIM experts and practitioners
So, join us by registering today for our MDM Day event in New York on 24th February. We are excited to see you all there and walk with you towards MDM Nirvana.
With a total B2C e-commerce turnover of $567.3bn in 2013, Asia-Pacific was the strongest e-commerce region in the world in 2013, as it surpassed Europe ($482.3bn) and North America ($452.4bn). Online sales in Asia-Pacific expected to have reached $799.2 billion in 2014, due to latest report from the Ecommerce Foundation.
Revenue: China, followed by Japan and Australia
As a matter of fact, China was the second-largest e-commerce market in the world, only behind the US ($419.0 billion), and for 2014 it is estimated that China even surpassed the US ($537.0 billion vs. $456.0 billion). In terms of B2C e-commerce turnover, Japan ($136.7 billion) ranked second, followed by Australia ($35.7 billion), South Korea ($20.2 billion) and India ($10.7 billion).
On average, Asian-Pacific e-shoppers spent $1,268 online in 2013
Ecommerce Europe’s research reveals that 235.7 million consumers in Asia-Pacific purchased goods and services online in 2013. On average, APAC online consumers each spent $1,268 online in 2013. This is slightly lower than the global average of $1,304. At $2,167, Australian e-shopper were the biggest spenders online, followed by the Japanese ($1,808) and China ($1,087).
Mobile: Japan and Australia lead the pack
In the frequency of mobile purchasing Japan shows the highest adoption, followed by Japan. An interesting fact is that 50% of transactions are done at home, 20% at work and 10% on the go.
The latest North American B2C e-commerce market report is out now. For my followers I took the freedom to summarize some “Magnificent Seven Facts on B2C eCommerce in North America” in a short blog. The report covers United States, Canada and Mexico, but as well comparisons to Europe and Asia. According to this report, North American B2C e-commerce market is expected to reach $494.0 billion in 2014.
The Magnificent Seven Facts
- 122.5 million households in North America
- 336 million internet users in North America
- North America makes up 29.2% of the total global online sales ($1,552.0bn) in 2013.
- In terms of global B2C e-commerce, North America ranked third in 2013, behind Asia-Pacific and Europe
- North American consumers spent on average$2,116 online in2013. This is significantly above the global average of €1,280.
- With an average spending per e-shopper of $2,216, American consumers spent most online in2013. Canadians ranked second with an average spending of $1,577, while Mexican e-shoppers on average spent $1,133 online in2013.
- Canadians are more likely to shop mobile
Mobile Commerce: Canada Leads the Pack
Within North America, mobile commerce is most popular in Canada, with more than half of the online purchases per week being made through a mobile device. At 38.2%, US Americans still make their mobile purchases in the safe surroundings of their homes.
What are the barriers preventing mobile purchasing?
Free downloads available now
Would you like to find out more about global e-commerce? The free light versions of our Regional/Continental Reports can be downloaded here.
Working with executives in retail, distribution and CPG has always been a passion for me and our team. Our MDM in NYC (February 24) is dedicated the theme of “Driving Value from Business Critical Information” and comes with special break out room from 10.30 am – 5.00 pm focussing on “Omnichannel & Product Information Management”.
Customer speakers include:
- How product information in ecommerce improved Geiger’s ability to promote and sell promotional products (Triple Award Winner) – Speaker: Mike Plourde, IT Director of Data and Analytics
- Harrods: Improving Customer Experience with Product Information – Speaker: Peter Rush, Head of Governance Planning
Informatica & Management Forum present:
Executive Tour – Retail Innovation in NYC
This time, I am proud to have a special partnership in place which allows you to visit an attractive list of retail stores in Manhattan: The list includes Bloomingdale’s, Target, Glossybox, This is Store, Indochino and much more. Did you know, re-inventing the store, was one of the hot topics at NRF, retailers big show early January.
Business partners of Informatica will get a discount for this Executive Tour and will also get free access to Informatica’s MDM Day. If you are interested in the store-tour using the discount for Informatica, please drop me an email.
Reinventing the store was one of the key topics at NRF. Over the last three to four years we have been seeing a lot push and invest for ecommerce innovation and replatforming ecommerce strategies. Now the retail, CPG and brand manufacturers are working on a renaissance of the store and show room, driven by digital. And there is still way to go.
Incremental part of the omnichannel strategy of our PIM customer Murdoch’s Ranch and Home Supply is digital signage for in-store product promotions. This selfie was shot with my dear colleague Thomas Kasemir (VP RnD PIM & Procurement) at the NRF booth of Four Winds Interactive.
Four Winds serves about 5,000 companies worldwide and I would consider them as one of the market leaders. Alison Rank and her team did show case how static product promotions work and how dynamic personalized product promotions can look like, when John Doe enters the store.
John Doe’s Personalized Purchase Journey
John Doe and his wife are out and about in the city; with the advice from his son, John has created a pro-file on Facebook and Foursquare with his new generation smartphone enabling him to receive any special offers in his vicinity. Mr. Doe has voluntarily agreed to share his data for the specific purpose of allowing retailers to call to his attention any special offers in the area. As both of them have interest in visiting the store they respond to the offer.
At the entrance to the store he is advised to start up the special store app and is promised a “personalized shopping” experience. As John Doe enters the store, a friendly greeting appears on his digital signage screen: “Welcome Mr. Doe, the men’s suits are on the 3rd floor and we have the following offers for you.” Upon reaching the 3rd floor, the salesperson is already standing there with the right suit. The suit is one size smaller than usual, but it fits John Doe. After the fitting, the salesperson even points out the new women’s hat collection in the women’s department. Satisfied with their purchases, Mr. and Mrs. Doe leave the store.
For me it is clear assuming that the future of shopping will look something like this, due to the fact that all of these technologies are already available. But what has taken place? The reason why John Doe receives location-based offers has already been explained above; the point that needs to be made is that there is now the ability to link personal and statistical data to customers. By means of the app, the store already knows whom they are dealing with as soon as they enter the store. Or can messaging services be used to send an alert to a shop assistant that a A-Customer with high value shopping carts has just entered the store.
To this point, stores can leverage both personal information as well as location-based information to generate a personal greeting for the customer.
- What did he buy? In which department was he and for how long?
- When did he purchase his last suit(s)?
- What sizes were these?
- Does he have an online profile?
- What does he order online and does he finish the transaction?
All of this analytical data can be stored and retrieved behind the scenes.
Catch Me if I Want
The targeted sales approach at the point of interest (POI) and point of sale (POS) is considered to be increasingly important. This type of communication is becoming dynamic and is taking precedent over traditional forms of advertising.
When entering the store today, customers are for the most part undecided. Based on this assumption, they can be influenced by ads and targeted product placement. Customers are now willing to disclose their location data and personal information provided there is added value for them to do so.
Example from Vapiano Restaurant
A good example is the Vapiano restaurant chain. Vapiano restaurants take an extra step further than the tradi-tional loyalty card by utilizing a special smartphone app where the customer can not only choose the nearest restau-rant along with special offers and menu, but also receive a kind of credit after payment via barcode. After collecting 10 credits, the restaurant guest receives a main course for free on the 11th visit. Sound good? It sure does, and from the company’s perspective this is a win-win situation. These obvious benefits move the customer to disclose his or her eating habits and personal data. The restaurant chain now has access to their birth dates, which is rewarded as well. This data aggregation is definitely recommendable, since it requires the guest’s explicit consent and assumes a certain degree of active participation from the guest to be eligible for the rewards offered by the restaurant.
If John Doe allowed my as brand manufacturer in my showroom or as a retailer to catch him, companies will need to ensure that they are really able to identity John Doe wit this all channel customer profile to come up with a personalized offer on digital signage. But this needs to be covered in an additional blogs…
As we discussed at length in our #HappyHoliData series, no matter what the customer industry or use case, information quality is a key value component to deliver the right services or products to the right customer.
In my blog on 2015 omnichannel trends impacting customer experience I commented on product trust as a key expectation in the eyes of customers.
For product managers, merchandizers or category managers this means: which products shall we offer for which price? How is the competition pricing this item? With which content is the competition promoting this SKU? Are my retailers and distributors sticking to my price policy. Companies need quicker insights for taking decisions on their assortment, prices and compelling content and for better customer facing service.
Recently, we’ve been spending time discussing this challenge with the folks at Indix, an innovator in the product intelligence space, to find ways to help businesses improve their product information quality. For background, Indix is building the world’s largest database of product information and currently tracks over 600 million products, over 600,000 seller, over 40,000 brands, over 10,000 attributes across over 6,000 categories. (source: Indix.com)
Indix takes all of that data, then cleanses and normalizes it and breaks it down into two types of product information — offers data and catalog data. The offers data includes all the dynamic information related to the sale of a product such as the number of stores at which it is sold, price history, promotions, channels, availability, and shipping. The catalog data comprises relatively unchanging product information, such as brand, images, descriptions, specifications, attributes, tags, and facets.
We’ve been talking with the Indix team about how powerful it could be to integrate product intelligence directly into the Informatica PIM. Just imagine if Informatica customers could seamlessly bring in relevant offers and catalog content into the PIM through a direct connection to the Indix Product Intelligence Platform and begin using market and competitive data immediately.
What do you think?
We’re going to be at NRF and meet selected people to discuss more. If you like the idea, or have some feedback on the concept, let us know. We’d love to see you while we’re there and talk further about this idea with you.
The last few months have allowed me to see MDM, data quality and data governance from a completely different perspective. I sat with other leaders here at Informatica, analysts who focus on information quality and spent time talking to our partners who work closely with customers on data management initiatives. As we collectively attempted to peer into the crystal ball and forecast what will be hot – and what will not – in this year and beyond for MDM and data quality, here are few top predictions that stood out.
1. MDM will become a single platform for all master entities
“The classical notion of boundaries that existed where we would say, this is MDM versus this is not MDM is going to get blurred,” says Dennis Moore – SVP, Information Quality Solutions (IQS), Informatica. “Today, we master a fairly small number of attributes in MDM. Rather than only mastering core attributes, we need to master business level entities, like customer, product, location, assets, things, etc., and combine all relevant attributes into a single platform which can be used to develop new “data fueled” applications. This platform will allow mastering of data, aggregate data from other sources, and also syndicate that data out into other systems.”
Traditionally MDM was an invisible hub that was connected to all the spokes. Instead, Dennis says – “MDM will become more visible and will act as an application development platform.”
2. PIM is becoming more integrated environment that covers all information about products and related data in single place
More and more customers want to have single interface which will allow them to manage all product information. Along with managing a product’s length, width, height, color, cost etc., they probably want to see data about the history, credit rating, previous quality rating, sustainability scorecard, returns, credits and so on. Dennis says – “All the product information in one place helps make better decisions with embedded analytics, giving answers to questions such as:
- What were my sales last week?
- Which promotions are performing well and poorly?
- Which suppliers are not delivering on their SLAs?
- Which stores aren’t selling according to plan?
- How are the products performing in specific markets?”
Essentially, PIM will become a sovereign supplier of product data that goes in your catalog and ecommerce system that will be used by merchandisers, buyers, and product and category managers. It will become the buyer’s guide and a desktop for the person whose job is to figure out how to effectively promote products to meet sales targets.
3. MDM will become an integral part of big data analytics projects
“Big data analytics suffers from the same challenges as traditional data warehouses – bad data quality produces sub-optimal intelligence. MDM has traditionally enabled better analysis and reporting with high quality master data. Big data analytics will also immensely benefit from MDM’s most trustworthy information.” – Said Ravi Shankar – VP of Product Marketing, MDM, Informatica
Naveen Sharma who heads Enterprise Data Management practice at Cognizant reemphasized what I heard from Dennis. He says – “With big data and information quality coming together, some of the boundaries between a pure MDM system and a pure analytical system will start to soften”. Naveen explains – “MDM is now seen as an integral part of big data analytics projects and it’s a huge change from a couple of years ago. Two of large retailers we work with are going down the path of trying to bring not only the customer dimension but the associated transactional data to derive meaning into an extended MDM platform. I see this trend continuing in 2015 and beyond with other verticals as well.”
4. Business requirements are leading to the creation of solutions
There are several business problems being solved by MDM, such as improving supplier spend management and collaboration with better supplier data. Supply chain, sourcing and procurement teams gain significant cost savings and a boost in productivity by mastering supplier, raw materials and product information and fueling their business and analytical applications with that clean, consistent and connected information. Jakki Geiger, Senior Director of IQS Solutions Marketing at Informatica says, “Business users want more than just the underlying infrastructure to manage business-critical data about suppliers, raw materials, and products. They want to access this information directly through a business-friendly user interface. They want a business process-driven workflow to manage the full supplier lifecycle, including: supplier registration, qualification, verification, onboarding and off-boarding. Instead of IT building these business-user focused solutions on top of an MDM foundation, vendors are starting to build ready-to-use MDM solutions like the Total Supplier Relationship solution.” Read more about Valspar’s raw materials spend management use case.
5. Increased adoption of matching and linking capabilities on Hadoop
“Many of our customers have significantly increased the amount of data they want to master,” says Dennis Moore. Days when tens of millions of master records were a lot are long gone and having hundreds of millions of master records and billions of source records is becoming almost common. An increasing number of master data sources –internal and external to organization – are contributing significantly to the rise in data volumes. To accommodate these increasing volumes, Dennis predicts that large enterprises will look at running complex matching and linking capabilities on Hadoop – a cost effective and flexible way to analyze large amount of data.
6. Master insight management is going to be next big step
“MDM will evolve into master insight management as organizations try to relate trusted data they created in MDM with transactional and social interaction data,” said Rob Karel – VP of Product Strategy and Product Marketing, IQS, Informatica. “The innovations in machine and deep learning techniques will help organizations such as healthcare prescribe next best treatment based on history of patients, retailers suggest best offers based on customer interest and behavior, public sector companies will see big steps in social services, etc.”
Rob sees MDM at the heart of this innovation bringing together relevant information about multiple master entities and acting as a core system for insight management innovations.
7. MDM and Data Governance
Aaron Zornes – Chief research officer at the MDM Institute predicts that in 2014-15, vendor MDM solutions will move from “passive-aggressive” mode to “proactive” data governance mode. Data governance for MDM will move beyond simple stewardship to convergence of task management, workflow, policy management and enforcement according to Aaron.
8. The market will solidify for cloud based MDM adoption
Aaron says – “Cloud-innate services for DQ and DG will be more prevalent; however, enterprise MDM will remain on premise with increasing integration to cloud applications in 2015.
Naveen sees lot of synergy around cloud based MDM offerings and says – “The market is solidifying for MDM on cloud but the flood gates are yet to open”. Naveen does not see any reason why MDM market will not go to cloud and gives the example of CRM which was at similar junction before Saleforce came into play. Naveen sees similar shift for MDM and says – “The fears companies have about their data security on cloud is eventually going to fade. If you look closely at any of the recent breaches, these all involved hacks into company networks and not into cloud provider networks. The fact that cloud service providers spend more dollars on data security than any one company can spend on their on-premise security layer will be a major factor affecting the transition”. Naveen sees that big players in MDM will include cloud offerings as part of their toolkit in coming years.
Ravi also predicts an increase in cloud adoption for MDM in future as the concern for placing master data in the cloud becomes less with maximum security provided by cloud vendors.
So, what do you predict? I would love to hear your opinions and comments.
In my point of view, heavily influenced by the customers and analyst I am meeting, these 5 trends are impacting omnichannel commerce for better personalization and customer experience in 2015 and beyond.
- Issue of the informed purchase journey: A Google study (*Google ZMOT Handbook) shows that, on average, across all categories, shoppers use 10.4 sources of information to make a decision. This includes, among other things, watching TV ads, looking up manufacturer websites, talking to family and friends, reading reviews, and checking Amazon. Customers are increasingly visiting websites across multiple devices, and the final location where they make a purchase can be very different from the initial point of interaction. When do they have enough information to buy?
- Three levels of Trust : Customer expect three levels of trust – SOCIAL TRUST, PRODUCT TRUST and BRAND TRUST. Social trust: means what do my friends recommend? Conversions go up by 133%* when trusted people recommend products. Brands and retailers can sell more with relevant information, including social data (aggregating and reusing). Sorry but this is again one more votum for tanking BIG DATA seriously. I believe customer-centric organizations are going to use a combination of data management and big data analytics to improve the quality and accelerate the business value of their big data projects. In particular, companies will apply these capabilities to greatly improve their ability to acquire, retain and grow their customer share of wallet with more personalized marketing. For example, one insurance company we work wants to better understand their customers, household and prospects through real-time customer and prospect profiling on Hadoop. This data management and big data analytics initiative will improve their marketing campaign effectiveness by targeting specific people with relevant offers. They will be able to answer questions such as:
- How many of these people are customers vs. prospects?
- Who else lives in this household?
- Which products do they already have?
- What relationships do they have with other customers, beneficiaries, prospects, agents?
- Which offers have they responded to that we sent them in the past?
- What life events, changes to address, income or employment have they experienced?
- Which customers are likely to churn?
Product trust: which products shall we offer for which price? Or the customer wants to know if he buys the latest version of the digital radio or the cable. Companies need quicker insights for taking decisions on their assortment, prices and compelling contentr and for better customer facing service.
Brand trust: the brand experience is so important. Brands and retailers need to be more efficient when creating market ready products, with videos, content and all what creates emotions.
3. Store fulfillment & in-store experience will become a big investment area, and retailers will look to omni-channel solutions that can provide provide transparency into inventory to help manage customer expectations. Use the store as warehouse and ship from the nearest store. The use if digital devices and information panels will gain much more attention. Gartner predicts that by year-end 2016 more than $2 billion in online shopping will be performed exclusively by mobile digital assistants.
4. The mobile conversion: revenue spend on mobile is growing. Forrester Research projects sales from consumers shopping on mobile phones will increase to $38 billion this year and sales from tablets will hit $76 billion, or about $114 billion in total in the US. Most Online Shopping Still Happens on PCs. 95% of smartphone users say they’ve searched for local information. 90% of those users take action within 24 hours. 61% of smartphone users called a business after searching. 59% visited a local business after searching. But conversions on mobile devices need to be improved. With better and more relevant information – I call it commerce relevancy.
5. Virtual Reality is taking customer experience to the next level. Augmented reality was a first step, but I believe virtual reality (VR) will take it even further. I learned from my colleague Nicholas Goupil, that Samsung Gear by Oculus VR and similar products will change the game of gaming. What are the potentials for brands and retailers to enhance customer experience?
What are your expectations on 2015 omnichannel trends?
Let’s chat @benrund or face-to-face during NRF in NYC.
As we renew or reinvent ourselves for 2015, I wanted to share a case of “imagine if” with you and combine it with the narrative of an American frontier town out West, trying to find a new Sheriff – a Wyatt Earp. In this case the town is a legacy European communications firm and Wyatt and his brothers are the new managers – the change agents.
Here is a positive word upfront. This operator has had some success in rolling outs broadband internet and IPTV products to residential and business clients to replace its dwindling copper install base. But they are behind the curve on the wireless penetration side due to the number of smaller, agile MVNOs and two other multi-national operators with a high density of brick-and-mortar stores, excellent brand recognition and support infrastructure. Having more than a handful of brands certainly did not make this any easier for our CSP. To make matters even more challenging, price pressure is increasingly squeezing all operators in this market. The ones able to offset the high-cost Capex for spectrum acquisitions and upgrades with lower-cost Opex for running the network and maximizing subscriber profitability, will set themselves up for success (see one of my earlier posts around the same phenomenon in banking).
Not only did they run every single brand on a separate CRM and billing application (including all the various operational and analytical packages), they also ran nearly every customer-facing-service (CFS) within a brand the same dysfunctional way. In the end, they had over 60 CRM and the same number of billing applications across all copper, fiber, IPTV, SIM-only, mobile residential and business brands. Granted, this may be a quite excessive example; but nevertheless, it is relevant for many other legacy operators.
As a consequence, their projections indicate they incur over €600,000 annually in maintaining duplicate customer records (ignoring duplicate base product/offer records for now) due to excessive hardware, software and IT operations. Moreover, they have to stomach about the same amount for ongoing data quality efforts in IT and the business areas across their broadband and multi-play service segments.
Here are some more consequences they projected:
- €18.3 million in call center productivity improvement
- €790,000 improvement in profit due to reduced churn
- €2.3 million reduction in customer acquisition cost
- And if you include the fixing of duplicate and conflicting product information, add another €7.3 million in profit via billing error and discount reduction (which is inline with our findings from a prior telco engagement)
Despite major business areas not having contributed to the investigation and improvements being often on the conservative side, they projected a 14:1 return ratio between overall benefit amount and total project cost.
Coming back to the “imagine if” aspect now, one would ask how this behemoth of an organization can be fixed. Well, it will take years but without management (in this case new managers busting through the door), this organization has the chance to become the next Rocky Mountain mining ghost town.
The good news is that this operator is seeing some management changes now. The new folks have a clear understanding that business-as-usual won’t do going forward and that centralization of customer insight (which includes some data elements) has its distinct advantages. They will tackle new customer analytics, order management, operational data integration (network) and next-best-action use cases incrementally. They know they are in the data, not just the communication business. They realize they have to show a rapid succession of quick wins rather than make the organization wait a year or more for first results. They have fairly humble initial requirements to get going as a result.
You can equate this to the new Sheriff not going after the whole organization of the three, corrupt cattle barons, but just the foreman of one of them for starters. With little cost involved, the Sheriff acquires some first-hand knowledge plus he sends a message, which will likely persuade others to be more cooperative going forward.
What do you think? Is new management the only way to implement drastic changes around customer experience, profitability or at least understanding?
Happy Holidays, Happy HoliData
In case you have missed our #HappyHoliData series on Twitter and LinkedIn, I decided to provide a short summary of best practices which are unleashing information potential. Simply scroll and click on the case study which is relevant for you and your business. The series touches on different industries and use cases. But all have one thing in common: All consider information quality as key value to their business to deliver the right services or products to the right customer.
Thanks a lot to all my great teammates, who made this series happen.
Happy Holidays, Happy HoliData.