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Predictions 2017 – Processes, organization and data: We do not need to look into the crystal ball!

22 December 2016
Just before Christmas is traditionally the time when industry colleagues and market criers throw around predictions.

These are, in a nutshell, our new and old themes for 2017

Of course we, the experts, have to be part of it, too. A quick survey among our colleagues showed that the issues and technologies we will deal with in our customer projects don’t really require a gaze into the crystal ball. Our customers and we are already working on topics and areas that, for most people, will be only be relevant in the near future.

Customer focus as a driver of business development – this “trend” will continue and intensify. It has become a challenge to make customers happy: apps to link the online and offline world, same-day delivery, returns in store etc. These services have one thing in common: They require a seamless integration of all channels and consistent data that is, ideally, centrally managed by a PIM/MDM system.
The process of buying a new pair of shoes or a necklace as a birthday present will become increasingly easier and quicker. Most purchase decisions are made out-of-home. The number of touch points and the ensuing communication potential for advertising companies in the area of mobile devices and “Digital Out-of-Home” have grown at an exponential rate.

In order to appeal to consumers, it is essential that all relevant, channel-specific product and customer information be available at the right time, in the right context and in the right place. This presupposes, however, an effective master data management in order to cost-effectively provide high-quality data at the appropriate level of granularity. Omnichannel can only be successful when working in a team with MDM and PIM! The demands on IT infrastructure will continue to grow and IT and marketing will become more and more interleaved.

Marketing processes are constantly changing: Mail-order companies, for example, face a new challenge. Generally, products for the next season are prepared in the ERP system in order to be printed on double pages. Product range and assortment are becoming increasingly independent from traditional channels. In order to be able to offer channel-specific product data and to be successful across all channels, the former double page migrates from the ERP system to PIM and is reinvented in this process.

Processes that generate product data and export them to the target channels are already designed to work across systems. But, quite often, they are not efficiently implemented. Consider, for example, automatic data retrieval from a source system, followed by an initial check with previously defined data quality rules.

On successful completion of the check, this data is released in order to be processed manually or automatically. This step usually includes maintenance of customer-specific or standard information. Data that has been successfully tested will then be exported to downstream systems. If the data is not correct, tasks will be generated for data stewards to revise it. If data records are not processed within a certain time frame, the issue will be escalated automatically, increasing efficiency even further.

In all of these examples, cross-system business process management offers considerable savings potential. Processes are accelerated through software-based automation, consistently high data quality is ensured, and valuable employees are freed up from routine tasks, to name just a few of them.
Processes, organization and data – our customers and we will certainly focus on these topics in 2017. Master Data Management (MDM) may be a necessary technology, but digitisation processes will only be successful if MDM is in line with data quality, data governance and appropriate processes.

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