The Ins and Outs of a PIM project
Establishing the objectives for discovery, design and build of a PIM solution
The most crucial phase of a PIM implementation project is how well the first stage, discovery, is executed. Our clients wish to put in place a scalable, flexible and future-proof technology architecture to support their business strategies. That transformative process is only achievable by ensuring that the agreed solution is aligned with and configured to serve their longer-term business objectives.
By carrying out a thorough analysis of the organisational data culture, processes and workflow management, the emerging roadmap identifies what organisational or operational change is needed and how to execute that change. We work hand in hand with stakeholders to establish critical goals and KPIs which will ensure the investment case is compelling.
Identifying the client’s business requirements for their PIM solution
Identifying the most suitable technology tool is only part of the equation. It is only by establishing and clarifying the appropriate product data governance framework that clients can align their data management architecture with their enterprise architecture and reach a position to achieve measurable targets in relation to gains in sales revenue and internal effectiveness.
Emerging from discovery, the resulting high-level design document includes conceptual data and business process overviews, design principles and further key elements of successful PIM implementation. These include user interfaces, roles and permissions and the critical processes and protocols involved in migrating data from the legacy to the new system. We underpin all stages with a three-pronged focus:
Designing a blueprint for business processes and associated workflows to meet these requirements
The design phase delivers a detailed design for the PIM solution, containing 3 constituent parts:
- Data Model
- Solution Architecture & Integration
The client is very much involved at this stage, as their support:
- connects us with the subject matter experts throughout the business who can validate and sign off the project design
- gives us access to the technology third parties and resources we need to ensure our integration points are fully understood
Additionally, bear in mind that you may be dealing with product bundles or composites, relationships among different products and an enormous number of product attributes.
Designing a product data model which meets the client’s requirements and produce a solution specification
Our detailed low-level design focuses on key business drivers which determine fulfilment of the client’s requirements in terms of data modelling. These include (but are not limited to): data modelling, workflow and data governance principles, security and role-based responsibilities and permissions, integration specifications for import and export of data, and detailed data definitions (for instance, regarding relationships, attributes, taxonomy, and channels).
Building the new PIM and configuring it to meet precise requirements
The build phase develops the functional solution incrementally using Agile Sprints – a software development methodology particularly suited to the task, emphasising as it does, cost-effectiveness, flexibility, rigorous quality standards and total transparency throughout the phase for the product owner.
For any of our PIM implementation projects, our build phase works on three main areas – the configuration of:
- Workflow optimisation
- Data Modelling
- System integration
Once again, the client is very much a partner in this phase. We invite them to assign a Product Owner to assist us in managing the scope and prioritisation of the build. We also request that they give us access to key technology third parties and resources to guarantee delivery of our integration points.
Migration and deployment
The migrate and deploy phase migrates the legacy data into the new PIM and deploys the new solution into production. The build itself consists of key components: identification, profiling and cleansing of historical data, a migration strategy (including use of any necessary ETL tooling for the migration process), mapping of source to target, and loading to the new PIM solution.
During this key stage, two areas where the client’s help is critical are:
- cleansing of historical data, where required
- coordinating data change embargos as the migration takes place.
- clearly, the migration itself is fraught with potential pitfalls. It typically takes between one to two months, the aim being to minimise avoidable interruptions to operational activity
The project is far from complete after deployment of the new PIM solution. We provide solution support resources for the duration of the early life support period (typically, around one month). This phase is built around the three principles we consider as essential elements for successful deployment, where teething problems are minimised through:
- System monitoring
- Detection and resolution of defects
- Training support
To aid us in this migration and deployment phase, the client supports us by:
- Assigning a Product Owner to help us to manage any defects and prioritisation
- Giving us access to key technology third parties and resources to ensure all defects are satisfactorily resolved
And who does all this? As a business, we pride ourselves on working with a team of consultants who are not only experts in their specialisms, but also highly attuned to the idiosyncrasies and internal politics of organisations. They are equipped with the interpersonal and facilitation skills to establish positive, professional and trusting relationships with stakeholders at any level and in any role.