So, who reads the last page of a new book first? Who scrolls down to the reviews first and then back to the product? Today you do not have to »cheat« because you will get last but not least right at the start. Why? Because it is particularly this answer in the Tech-telmechtel talk that shows what today’s interview guest is capable of. Stefan is not just a consultant and developer. He is the PIM and MDM all-rounder from the other side, who knows the pain points surrounding data struggle like no one else because he has experienced them himself.
Tech Talk with Stefan Kellner
Stefan, you are consultant and developer in the field of PIM, MDM and customer experience. What made you choose this career path?
I used to work for an online retailer myself. We experienced the very same struggle that I see in many companies today: we had hundreds of suppliers, several data silos and even more Excel spreadsheets. Well, and we had an ERP system if you can really call it that. All the data was just dumped in there somehow.
This resulted in a lot of warning letters, dissatisfied customers, stress with suppliers and so on. There must be a better way, I thought at the time. And there is a better way 😉 Today I’m on the other side. I know that things can be improved and how to improve them, and I can show my old colleagues how to handle the data struggle.
Tech Short and Crisp: PIM & MDM
I’d say it could hardly be better. You are tech expert and consultant. What areas do you provide consulting in?
First of all, we always check what the client’s current situation is when he reaches out to us. What does he really need? A PIM or an MDM system? Which software is the right one? Once we and the client have found the right partner, in other words the solution provider, we implement the solution, review the data model – if one exists – and take a look at imports and exports. If our client has several data sources, we help him to create a data set he can trust – the golden record. But we don’t do this on our own. We’re not a taxi. We’re the driving school that advises the client so that he can drive on his own in the end.
PIM or MDM. What’s the difference and what examples are there? Keep it short and simple 😉
PIM stands for product information management. It is all about product information that is processed for marketing purposes – from all sources to all channels. PIM itself is a part of MDM, which stands for master data management. MDM is not only about products, but also about other entities such as customers, countries, companies, suppliers, etc.
Let me quickly talk about some examples: it depends on the industry. In the classic e-commerce scenario, for example an online retailer selling products in B2C or B2B, it’s usually most important to have product data that is suitable for marketing purposes. In this case, the choice would be a PIM solution. When it’s about big data, such as in the finance and insurance industry, customer data and an MDM system are more important.
Tech for Product Data That Is Suitable for Marketing Purposes
You’ve mentioned product data that is suitable for marketing purposes. What do you mean by this? And can you give some examples?
Yes, it’s about the following questions: where do I sell my products? Online or offline? Via a catalogue? On Amazon? Or via B2B platforms? Data must always be accurate. Amazon, for example, has major restrictions on what kind of data it accepts.
During my time »on the other side«, this was, for example, the case for the »movement« attribute of watches. A PIM system knows this and can prepare the data accordingly. With a catalogue, however, it’s more a question of space. Data must be adapted for this channel, descriptions shortened and corresponding validations specified. It already starts with small things like these.
What does validation mean? The act of configuring the system or a part of the system?
Exactly. It’s the data model we mentioned at the beginning. We decide on it together with the client. Where does the data come from and where should it be stored? Which attributes do we need? What validation is behind this? It can be the number of characters, formatting or whether certain terms are allowed or not.
How do you find that out? Whether a term is allowed or not?
An index is created in which such terms are stored or filtered out. So everything is individual and based on »custom logic« – just to drop another buzzword 😉
Tech Talk: Assets, MAM & DAM
Was that all product data that is suitable for marketing purposes?
Besides attributes and channels, it is also and especially about references: between products, but also to cross- and upselling potentials, to assets and within assets.
Assets are always image files, right?
Not always. They can also be PDF files and interactive elements, for example 360-degree videos.
Isn’t that MDM?
It is a component that is already included in most PIM systems: MAM (media asset management) or DAM (data asset management) – something our partners Akeneo, Contentserv and Stibo Systems offer as well.
Tech-telmechtel: MDM & CRM
Apart from product data that is suitable for marketing purposes, you also talked about compliant customer data. We’ve now reached the point where we should talk about MDM. What is the main difference between MDM and CRM?
That’s a mean question.
I know 😉
CRM is also about providing customers with relevant data. An MDM system can also be the basis for a CRM system, for valid data that contributes to insights about customers. So it’s not either/or, but an interaction of MDM and CRM.
So if I approach you and your team as an interested client and we find out that I need an MDM system, that doesn’t mean that I don’t need a CRM system, but rather that I’m more likely to benefit if I already have an MDM system?
Can I (as a client) also easily integrate all kinds of CRM systems via our MDM software providers?
Yes, because both MDM and CRM are data bases. An MDM system can also have a CRM system as data source. Let’s get back to the insurance companies and financial service providers: they usually have many subsidiaries and shareholders, which in turn all have the same customer. However, some of them know nothing about it. An MDM system collects the data from the CRM systems of banks and creates the previously mentioned golden record. It basically says: »Here, this is the same customer, you shouldn’t display him the same content twice or three times.«
Tech Talk: Akeneo, Contentserv, Stibo Systems
You said that all our partners offer MAM/DAM in their systems. Which companies decide to use Akeneo, Contentserv or Stibo Systems? Does it depend on the industry which system they choose?
It doesn’t depend on the industry. It always depends on the respective companies, their goals and in-depth requirements.
Thank you, Stefan. We’ll talk again soon. Then it will be about PIM and MDM trends as well as technologies of the future, but also about deeper insights into the systems of Akeneo, Contentserv and Stibo Systems.