I spent three days last week at the EnterWorks Engage User conference in Nashville, Tennessee. The participants in this gathering came from many different industries—food service and supply, MRO/Industrial distribution, manufacturing, and retail. Many were seasoned users of EnterWorks’ Enable software. Some were beginners showing up for expert training, and others were checking out the landscape of PIM solutions to see what is right for their organization.
Aside from the delicious food (Nashville hot chicken? Johnnycakes? Don’t mind if I do!) there was a massive amount of knowledge to take advantage of. It was a real pleasure to interact with such an intelligent and driven group, and to present on the importance of data governance.
Don’t Allow Product Content to be an Afterthought
The one thing that all these users had in common was the acknowledgement that product content is a driver of their business, not an afterthought. Investing in the tools to manage your content is the first step in creating a world-class digital experience. It was enlightening to see how people from many different backgrounds approach the complex demands of engineering with the right kind of digital assets to match their business goals. Regardless of industry, there were some common themes I saw come up over and over again. Here are my takeaways.
1. Focus on end-to-end solutions
Purchasing software is not a magic bullet for all your business woes, and anyone who claims otherwise is either naïve or trying to fleece you. It’s not that there aren’t amazing software solutions out there, rather, software alone can’t dictate strategy, governance, or content standards.
I spoke during the conference on best practices in data governance, a complicated topic whose surface I could only barely scratch during my half-hour time slot. An effective data governance approach requires both discipline and enforcement, but also flexibility and quick adaptivity when quantitative measures dictate a new direction. Leadership in content means thinking about the ultimate end user of your data. These days, you’re not just identifying a product on the web, you’re engineering an experience.
2. Choose your partners for maximum advantage
Codifyd is a preferred implementation partner for EnterWorks. In fact, we partner with several PIM solution providers, and what really impressed me about the folks I met at EnterWorks is their intellectual engagement. They’re always looking for ways to improve not only their product, but their relationships with their users.
3. Work towards a minimum viable product
Shifting your focus to using content strategically can seem daunting. There are so many things to consider: defining workflows, constructing integrations between upstream and downstream systems, and cleansing or building out your existing content. By the time you’re ready to go live with the results of an eighteen-month-long project, the industry will have moved on. Things happen in the digital age at, quite literally, the speed of light. Jump in. Identify, target, and prioritize the categories, products, or process improvements that will move the needle.
4. Push the boundaries of what content can do
From resolving channel conflict with sophisticated automation tools and analytics, to approaching web content with an eye to design, to playing with augmented reality, the industry is serious about leveraging their content to go above and beyond. Don’t get left behind!
Overall, I truly enjoyed learning more about the challenges businesses are facing when it comes to managing their data. And it seems that with the right combination of technology and people, organizations are meeting these challenges in innovative ways. If these are some of your organizational goals for the upcoming year, chat with us. We’re happy to guide you towards digital success.