The digital economy has forever changed consumer expectations. Increased demand for personalized products and experiences, diminishing brand loyalty and fast-changing markets are forcing companies to accelerate consumer-centric product development and commercialization processes. How can your organization launch new products quickly that meet customer demands and increase brand loyalty and awareness, without compromising on quality or price? Streamlining and integrating two key processes – product lifecycle management (PLM) and product master data management (product MDM) – can help brands navigate through the complexities of consumer-centric product development and offer products that customers want.
What process does PLM technology support?
Generally, PLM supports the global product development process, from product ideation, design, development, merchandise and business planning to product specification and sourcing. It brings merchandisers, designers, developers, product management, sourcing and marketing together into one system. It enables greater transparency and collaboration and accelerates the development process from concept to production. A PLM system that’s built on an MDM platform stores research and data in a central location to provide complete visibility and traceability across data, people and processes. This reduces the burden on IT resources, while making it possible for product teams to proactively manage data and associated processes, resulting in improved time to market.
You may be wondering where a product MDM (traditionally known as product information management or PIM) comes into play in this process, and how it relates to PLM technology. PLM manages the information related to developing a new product, whereas a product MDM or PIM system manages the product information necessary to sell it. Companies often manage these highly complementary processes in disconnected systems.
What process does product MDM technology support?
A product MDM acquires and manages data related to the newly developed product and shares it across the enterprise and to multiple distribution channels as part of the commercialization process. As opposed to PLM, which authors and manages product data, a product MDM cleans and enriches product data, acting as a central data hub. It aggregates every piece of data possible, from your enterprise resource planning (ERP) systems, PLM solution, financial systems and more. It then combines it, enabling an overall 360° view of your products that can be accessed by anyone in the organization at any time. With a product MDM, you can share updated product data and content across your enterprise applications and channels, including external channels such as customers, vendors, suppliers and partners.
Unfortunately, the painful reality is that product MDM systems (and your internal IT resources) work extremely hard to integrate data from other systems like ERP, PLM, etc. to provide 360° views. Now imagine having your product MDM and PLM systems on a single, integrated MDM platform, seamlessly extending your product development process from ideation to product launch.
And with MDM sitting at the core of your product development process, you’ll be able to reap the benefits of data governance, consolidation, cleansing, validation, enrichment and syndication to more data domains such as customer, location and supplier. Centralizing data in one place helps increase productivity and operational efficiency, so businesses can stay focused on growth and value. Only a multidomain MDM can deliver a trusted data foundation that’s flexible and scalable, enabling you to achieve true business 360° views.
Why you need both a PLM and a product MDM system
Having the PLM and product MDM systems working together seamlessly satisfies the market need to have end-to-end information transparency and can provide a comprehensive picture of a product and all the information around it. This helps businesses make better, faster decisions for the future, including answering questions like:
- Did a product do as well as projected and why?
- Was the time to market fast enough?
- What should we do differently next time?
While PLM technology streamlines the product creation process, product MDM enables you to draw conclusions from the data and distribute it across the enterprise by applying advanced analytics through technologies like machine learning.
This integrated approach helps both product development and marketing teams be more effective, thus improving sales and margins. Product developers, who typically work in PLM, can leverage the results from MDM data and use in-market performance data when conceptualizing their next product.
Likewise, marketers who typically use product MDM benefit from the information stored in PLM by having earlier access to information. It enables them to gain a better understanding of how the product was developed and provides them with access to the information they rely on to take products to market – ultimately breaking down the painful data silos that affect growth and profitability.
By applying an MDM approach to your end-to-end product development and launch processes, you’ll gain a reliable, unified view of your product development data. This helps your product teams reduce manual errors, reduce cost and accelerate time to market with new products that satisfy current and future customer needs.
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