Unlocking the Power of Product Data: Breaking the Data Silos

Unlocking the Power of Product Data: Breaking the Data Silos

Chintan Bhomia

Product Manager

Recently we discussed the complexities of chemical product data and the role of a Product Information Management System (PIM). Today, we cover the critical steps to eliminate data silos. This ensures the regular availability of high-quality product information for effective sales and marketing.

The first step in leveraging product data is eliminating data silos. It focuses on making information more accessible to internal and external stakeholders. At the same time, It removes outdated and duplicate content spread across the organization.

What are Data silos and its impact on an organization?

Data silos are situations where data is stored and managed in isolated systems that are not easily accessible by everyone or other systems within a company. While the world focuses on eliminating data silos, many don't take the time to understand how they originated. Without comprehending the cause, organizations are likely to repeat the same mistakes. 

The need to classify sensitive product and customer information across business units, mergers, and acquisitions, coupled with the lack of the right technology that supports this need, led to an excessive increase in siloed knowledge - i.e., knowledge stored in people's minds, files in local drives or shared repositories.

This disconnected data hinders the growth of an organization in ways suppliers often fail to realize. 

One common challenge is the limited ability of users to find the correct information. Every chemical industry sales and marketing team member has likely experienced this frustration. It's not uncommon for a prospect to request specific data like application guides or certifications, creating a chain of internal emails to find the requested information.

Or one could use systems like SharePoint and Google Drive that hold thousands of files stored as PDFs or DOCx and organized in layers of folders and subfolders. Navigating these folders might feel like an opening set of Matryoshka dolls, hoping the file name reflects its content.

When you find and share it, the prospect may have already moved on to another supplier that provided a faster response. These data silos and methods of organizing information create friction in various areas of business operations, from finding and sharing the correct documents with customers to training new employees.

Choosing to overlook these silos and not investing effort into breaking them could keep chemical suppliers from experiencing the benefits of a single source of truth, including but not limited to:

Faster Go-to-Market

With a centralized and accessible source of product information, sales and marketing teams can quickly find and share the correct information, enabling faster response times and improved customer experiences.

Productivity Boosts

Avoid manual errors during content creation by implementing data governance processes and the right tools, improving efficiency and productivity.

Improved Customer Experience

Access to accurate and up-to-date product information allows for personalized content based on customer needs and markets, which enhances the overall customer experience and fosters brand loyalty.

Maximizing Operational Efficiency

Streamlined product information within a company's internal teams helps users find the proper information faster, reducing time wasted searching for and validating data.

Eliminating Data Silos

There is no cookie-cutter approach to eliminating data silos. In fact, according to Forbes, data silo elimination often requires a cultural shift. 

Chemical suppliers often make one or more mistakes when considering product data-related projects:

  1. Eliminate all silos without considering the "why"

  2. Assuming it to be a one-time process and stopping at product data consolidation and organization

  3. Leverage CRM as their source of truth for product data under the mindset "if we shared it, it must have been true" and assuming "it will be true for other customers." 

  4. Continue to react to data needs and create new silos

Eliminating data silos requires organizations to establish a clear understanding of long-term business objectives and constraints. Below are some steps business leaders and product managers should consider when attempting to cut data silos and centralize product information:

  • Understand the Purpose of the Silo: Determine why the silo was created in the first place. Does it hold contextual data about the product, or is it a way to control access? Understanding the purpose will guide the approach to eliminating the silo effectively.

  • Assess Data Accuracy and Currency: Evaluate whether the silo contains up-to-date information about the product. If not, identify reliable sources with the most recent and accurate data.

  • Choose the Right Approach: Decide whether the silo is to be eliminated through deletion or by opening up access to the information. Each approach has its advantages and considerations, so carefully weigh the options.

Preventing the Creation of New Data Silos

To prevent the creation of new data silos, organizations should implement robust data governance practices and leverage the capabilities of a PIM system like ionicPIM. By establishing a centralized hub for product data, businesses can ensure that all relevant information is stored, managed, and accessible in a controlled manner.

How Agilis Commerce Helps Solve Product Data and Data Silo Challenges

Agilis recognizes that implementing a consolidated product data strategy and eliminating data silos are not simple tasks. It requires a combination of industry expertise, partnerships, and proprietary technology tools to design and execute an approach tailored to your business - organizing and digitalizing product data while eliminating product data silos without sacrificing data security.

This is why we combined our industry expertise and technology know-how with SpecialChem's 20 years of experience managing product information to create ionicPIM - the only PIM solution purpose-built for the chemical industry. 

ionicPIM has been helping global leaders by integrating with existing data systems, providing a centralized hub of product information with state-of-the-art access control technology, and leveraging technology to

  • Assist with consolidation, de-duplication, and data quality improvement
  • Simplify the product portfolio management process
  • Enable growth with cross-selling and upselling opportunities
  • Save time responding to customer inquiries
  • Provide self-serve features to buyers
  • Reduce regulatory risks by notifying users of updates in real-time

By leveraging ionicPIM and implementing effective data governance practices, organizations can unlock the full potential of their product data, streamline sales and marketing operations, enhance customer experiences, and drive business growth.

In the third blog of this series, we will explore how businesses can establish robust data governance principles to ensure long-term data management success. Stay tuned for more insights on breaking down data silos and unlocking the power of your product data.

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