From making your team more efficient and accelerating your time-to-market to improving your product experiences to reduce returns and increase conversion rates, Akeneo PIM can do a lot for your business.
But implementing any new software solution in your organization can come with challenges or difficulties and PIM is no different — that’s why Akeneo employs a team of PIM experts as consultants, ready to solve any problem and answer any questions that arise during the PIM implementation process, with the ultimate goal of ensuring your PIM helps realize better business results and rapid ROI.
In the latest edition of the PXM Pioneers’ Pulpit, host Brendan Murray caught up with a pair of Akeneo functional consultants, Adam Beatty and Brad Johnson, to offer insights they’ve gained during dozens of customer implementation and training sessions.
Miss the live taping? No problem! We’ve compiled a few of Adam and Brad’s best tips and tricks in this blog, so read on to learn how to make your PIM project a success, and find our full discussion in the video below.
The key to successful implementation? Preparation, preparation, preparation
So you’ve picked Akeneo PIM to help you create compelling product experiences using a foundation of accurate and comprehensive product information — now what? How do you make sure your new solution is implemented without major difficulty?
According to Adam and Brad, it’s all about preparation.
“I think one the most important things that, surprisingly, gets overlooked, is the amount of work that needs to happen before we get data into a PIM,” Brad noted. “I often tell people that I can teach you Akeneo and the UI in an hour and a half. It’s all of the other work, making your data nice and neat before we get it into the PIM…so we can be confident in that data.”
Adam also preached preparation, imploring new Akeneo customers not to forget to clearly outline the objectives for a PIM project before they go live.
“The key is to have a strategy,” he said. “It sounds kind of obvious but…it’s important to have a strategy and understand exactly what you’re trying to accomplish. Are you trying to get a faster time-to-market for new products? Are you trying to implement data governance? Are you trying to improve SEO? Do you want to support future expansion? It’s crucial that you understand those goals and have a strategy to work toward them.”
Common challenges — and how to conquer them
Our pair of Akeneo experts also helped identify challenges that new PIM users frequently face. One of the biggest issues? Not truly understanding the scope of a PIM project and the different members of your team that need to be engaged in order to make it a success.
Specifically, Adam said, PIM users need to make sure they have Julia on board. “Julia” is Akeneo’s stand-in for the catalog managers responsible for maintaining product information for a company — and without them, your PIM project may never get off the ground.
“Sometimes, projects are driven largely by the IT team, but the people that can really fix and model the data appropriately are what we at Akeneo call ‘Julia’ — those product content marketers…the people who really have an intimate knowledge of the product,” Adam said. “Those are the people that really need to be involved in this process of cleaning a data model, improving a data model…You need to take that time as a business to understand how you want to structure it, and you really need to make sure you have those experts involved in the process.”
Brad said that having those all-important product content experts working with Akeneo is a key ingredient for a prosperous PIM project.
“It really helps to understand how Julia works because that’s really the problem at the end of the day,” Brad said. “So having all your Julias there is really key so we can work with them to make their lives a little better.”
The critical need for communication
No matter what challenges arise, Adam and Brad said that the biggest thing PIM users should keep in mind is that it requires a wide range of voices and efforts in order to go live successfully. That means it’s crucial to make sure all members of the organization are on-board with PIM.
“It’s really important to remember that an Akeneo project is a collaboration,” Adam said. “It’s very cross-functional and impacts many different players across an enterprise. So, make sure that everyone is working together and understands the overall objectives, and make sure there’s a stakeholder to hold everyone accountable and make sure the project succeeds.”
But how can you get all these different members of your team on-board? Brad said that the companies that find the most success with PIM are those that make sure everyone has a seat at the table.
“I think it’s really important to have decision-makers from different parts of your organization,” he said. “We’re going to be making decisions about how the data is, about what it looks like in Akeneo, and if we don’t have those people there…it drags the process out…so having the right decision-makers about the products there is really important.”
Want more insights and best practices from Brad and Adam? Check out the full video below! Or, if you’re hungry for more information on the sweet science of Product Experience Management, check out our eBook, PXM for Dummies!