Addressing Digital Transformation During a Global Pandemic

Kalyan Vajapeyajula

By Kalyan Vajapeyajula

On April 9, 2020

How Product Information Management (PIM) and Master Data Management (MDM) mastery can be achieved when e-commerce rules are being rewritten daily.

Product Information Management remains important as the COVID-19 pandemic brings immeasurable stress to individuals and businesses around the world. Individuals are trying to figure out how to keep their families safe while attempting to work remotely. Businesses are trying to stay afloat in the short term without sacrificing their long-term goals of growth and profitability.

Specifically, retailers, manufacturers, energy, transportation, and other B2B companies are adjusting to new e-commerce demands, focusing on their product data as much as they are focusing on customer engagement and fulfillment.

At Riversand, we acknowledge the shifts in how businesses are operating and what pressures they are facing. These changes are not just short term but could extend into the foreseeable future.

Remote Work Life Balance

Retailers and manufacturers are working remotely while trying to maintain the same level of collaboration and efficiency in their day-to-day operations. “Providing work-life balance” is no longer a popular recruitment phrase; it is now considered table stakes for potential employees in joining future employers.

Supply Chain Disruption

Businesses are also facing business process disruption while dealing with suppliers and other commercial partners who are trying to get their grip on the same type of problems in their operations. Supply chains are stressed, and product line management has become crucially important.

Customer Expectations Remain Unchanged

Meanwhile, customers are still figuring out the safest, fastest, and most convenient way to get their essential (and non-essential) goods in the face of social distancing and business lock-downs. Not only are customers expecting to find what they’re looking for online, but they’re also looking for the same kind (or facsimile) of customer experience they were used to in the long-forgotten era of two months ago!

Product Information Management (PIM) and Master Data Management (MDM) Remain Crucial Enablers

Businesses can react to where they think the market is today, or they can put themselves in the best position to succeed. From master data, to product content, to governed data –  data quality remains an essential factor in helping businesses thrive.

Beyond that, what are the key factors for businesses to consider as they evaluate vendors and data management solutions during this critical time?

The following three factors are emerging as vital in the evaluation process:

1. Speed

A short implementation cycle is always desirable as you evaluate Product Information Management (PIM) or Master Data Management (MDM) solutions to power your e-commerce and digital transformation. In times of crises, this is even more urgent.

As organizations look to rapidly implement new programs or modify existing ones, they cannot afford to patiently wait for a software implementation cycle that might last a whole year. “Speed to live” is the most important factor to consider. Market share, competitive advantage, and profitability of the business depend on addressing this new reality.

Further, as you consider enterprise-level solutions and investments, make sure you are addressing both IT, security, and performance needs as well as business needs (supply chain, marketing, operations).

You can have it both ways: Powerful solutions that require minimal IT intervention and which also speak to the business users directly. Business users cannot afford to spend long cycles debugging simple issues and getting help with training on the application. Simple-to-use, intuitive UIs are a must.

2. Value

As with rapid implementation above, there is never a bad time to seek value. But when businesses are struggling to stay afloat, conversations about huge capital investments are going to get mothballed.

SaaS offerings on the other hand are easier to swallow or pitch internally because it becomes a decision about OPEX instead of a larger CAPEX decision. And within that context, businesses should look for affordable solutions that can provide a demonstrably high value.

For businesses with an eye on the future, a solution being considered doesn’t have to be a compromise between immediate needs and future wants. A platform-based solution that can scale with the expanding needs of the business will give them the relief they need today without limiting them in the long run.

3. Remote

Businesses and individuals that could accommodate remote work during this time have managed this crisis better than those stuck with traditional management infrastructures.

It’s one thing to use collaboration tools amongst their own employees — it’s another to enable genuine collaboration with customers and other stakeholders.

In looking for an immediate solution while simultaneously being constrained by remote working guidelines, businesses need to look at vendors that can deliver on collaborative remote implementation and support. Even when social distancing guidelines are not a factor, businesses that are in remote locations around the world will also be served by looking at vendors that can provide implementation and support remotely.

Not all crises are alike. If we’re lucky, we’ll never see the kind of disruption that has been caused by COVID-19 again. But we can certainly learn from what we’ve all experienced during this time and be better prepared for whatever uncertainties the future might bring.

Over the coming weeks and months, Riversand will continue to dive into the key ideas of Speed, Remote, and Value.

These key ideas are not just pivots for us in working with customers in the face of global pandemic, but a proven way of working with our customers who are looking to significantly shorten their timeframe, predictably reduce costs, and show measurable results with a leading industry solution that can handle the needs of today and seamlessly scale up for tomorrow.

Kalyan Vajapeyajula is the Product Marketing Manager at Riversand Technologies where he demonstrates the value that PIM and MDM solutions can bring to customers of different verticals and at all stages of growth.

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