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Business

Mar 29, 2022

10 min to read

Reboot. Embrace. Grow. Highlights from #Unlock2022

Discover the highlights from our annual gathering of the PXM community in Paris.

Keywords

akeneo community

akeneo pxm studio

business

product experience

pxm champions awards

pxm maturity

Unlock 2022

After 2 long years of social distancing and uncertainty, Akeneo was able to gather its community of customers, system integrators and technology partners in Paris from March 14th to 16th. Nearly 600 people met at the historic La Maison de la Mutualité for 3 days of inspiring keynotes and roundtables, super valuable customer testimonials, product roadmap insights, hands-on sessions, and a memorable party!

 

1. A retrowave look at the future

During his opening Keynote, Akeneo CEO Fred de Gombert suggested taking a step back and embracing our past to look at our future. 

And when looking at the last 2 years, Fred thanked the whole Akeneo community for having stayed by our side despite all the big changes that have happened.

The variety and diversity of people in our community of 3400+ members is Akeneo’s true wealth.

And actually 2021 was a pretty great year for Akeneo: 

  • We’ve been recognized as leader by major industry analysts (Forrester, IDC, Ventana)
  • We’ve welcomed 200+ new customers that we are thrilled to help unlock growth thanks to Product Experiences
  • We’ve grown the team and now have 300+ employees in 9 different countries to be closer to our community
  • Akeneo customers have created 100+ products per minute all over the world

 

So why reboot? This offers such a great way to start again from scratch with fresh eyes. This works for many industries. And this is obviously true for PIM software. 

If the main goal 10 years ago was to create one main source of truth for product information, Akeneo succeeded in rebooting back then, bringing a new and easy user experience while answering to demanding quality expectations. 

As the world has changed a lot during the last 10 years, Fred shared how it’s time to reboot PIM software again, to redefine it, embracing these changes: 

  • Routes-to-market are evolving everyday, and brands and manufacturers now address many more channels than ever before which implies new challenges;
  • From a consumer point of view, Product Information does not only concern “cold data”, but pricing, availability, and reviews are also part of the Product Experience; 
  • Architectures have changed: this is why Akeneo joined the MACH Alliance to be a key component of composable commerce.

To help Akeneo grow and reboot the PIM category, we needed some fuel, and Fred announced that Akeneo has raised $135 Million for our Series D funding round.

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And to reconnect with his 80’s self, Fred not only chose to wear the same exact green knitwear he wore when he was 10, but also to invite the creator of the video games he used to play as a kid. Discovering adventure games was a real life changer for Fred, especially Broken Sword, one of the all-time classic adventures, by multi BAFTA-nominated Charles Cecil.

Charles Cecil shared his journey across 40 years, from writing his first computer games to being CEO of Revolution Software. This is an industry where extraordinary change has happened over that time through market disruption and technical changes. Charles and his team had to pivot and reboot several times, embracing those changes to adapt and grow. All along this journey, his community of loyal and passionate fans have always been a truly valued support to Charles and his team. It was fascinating to understand that they could have made much more money doing what the major players were doing (shooting people in video games just to give an example), but what matters at the end is to remain close to your values and your community expectations, to grow longer, together.

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2. Some insights into Akeneo PXM Studio

Omnichannel is here to stay, reminded us Kristin Naragon, our VP Marketing and Strategy who took to the stage alongside Antoine Barbier, VP Product. They highlighted recent capabilities of Akeneo PXM Studio that support the demanding needs of omnichannel leaders: to be able to easily share high-quality product information with anyone inside or outside your company. 

So what do Shared Catalogs and Tailored Exports specifically offer to support your omnichannel challenges? 

  • Tailored Exports are ideal for omnichannel data export where no API exists on the receiving side yet meet the receivers requirements for flat data files.

If you work with a new important retail partner, they expect the perfect required product information. You can easily  map your product information with the ones expected by your distributor, including their labels, for the locales they sell in, without having to change your internal Akeneo PIM product catalog structure. And keep this dedicated export in your library to share any updates frequently, ensuring the accuracy of the information given. 

  • Shared Catalogs allows internal and external stakeholders to easily access the information they need to better inform and serve their customers and business partners through a dedicated self-service portal. It has been doing very well and continues to receive many updates since it was first launched in 2021.

And as Omnichannel success also means having several tools in the tech stack to provide the perfect customer experience, you need to connect your ecosystem in a cloud-native world. Akeneo App Store was born to make it easier for you to connect Akeneo PIM to other players, and thus augment product information management capabilities. All new Apps in addition to existing connectors are now available right from within Akeneo PIM itself 

For our partners, it also makes their life easier to get on the market faster. Services, documentation and sample codes are available. 

7 apps are already live thanks to the involvement of our Technology Partners: BigCommerce, Channel Engine, ProductUp, Tradebyte, InBetween, Priint and Unifai. 

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For Tailored Exports and Akeneo App Store, we were lucky enough to have a live demo by Sr. Director for Product Marketing Ali Hanyaloglu.

3. Demystifying composable commerce

One of the tech buzzwords for the 2021-2022 season is definitely composable commerce. More than a tech trend, it is really a way for companies to think about the tools they offer to their internal users to best feed their needs and provide the best customer experience at the end of the day in agile and flexible way.

And talking about seasons, one of the 3 guests Fred invited, Hubert Odend’hal, Sales Director at CommerceTools, smartly compared composable commerce to fashion behaviours: people indeed love mixing style and brands to reflect their own personality. 

Iris Schiefer, Sr. Strategic Partnerships Manager at BigCommerce, loves using the term BYOE (for Build You Own Experience) to describe composable commerce. It’s all about creating that vision of the business outcomes and the digital experience you want to deliver to the consumer, and then working backwards to find that best of breed tech stack. 

With his strong background in eCommerce agencies, John Williams, Amplience CTO also explained how having a headless approach brings less complexity and is also less expensive for much more value.  Instead of the cost, organizations should keep their focus on the value delivered.

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The 4 actors on stage are proud members of the MACH Alliance which presents and advocates for an open and best-of-breed enterprise technology ecosystem.

4. 8 insightful and inspiring customer testimonials

This year’s Unlock shines the limelight on 8 great customers sharing their PXM stories from different industries, different ages, different sizes, but with one common point: the will to offer a new way of working,  whether it comes to creating product information and content, or to sharing better quality of product information, more frequently with external business partners. 

Here are some key takeaways from each customer speakers that we were thrilled to welcome on stage: 

  • In the first mainstage session, Prune PILLOIS, omnichannel Director at LVMH Group and Yolanda Diaz, Product Data Owner for the Perfumes & Cosmetics Division explained how LVMH Group pools and coordinates all functions that can be shared among its Houses, freeing up precious time to focus on the essentials: crafting an inspiring story to offer the best product experience. The perfect balance between agility and responsibility.

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  • We had the pleasure to receive Pasqual Ortuño Nuñez, Rémy Cointreau Group IT Digital Manager, who explained to (and entertained) us how the legendary group and its international portfolio of spirits, including Rémy Martin, Louis XIII cognac, and of course Cointreau liquor, unites the very best of long-standing traditions with the most modern practices in customer experience to build a powerful brand identity.
  • Then, thanks to 2 breakout sessions, Babolat shared with the audience how, after more than a century of selling tennis racquets and equipment in a B2B model, the brand more recently embarked on an ambitious project to grow via a D2C approach. Through the expansion of its existing model, they integrated new functionality and embraced exceptional product experiences thanks to Cloudinary DAM and Akeneo PIM Enterprise Edition.
  • And Swiss Krono, the world’s leading manufacturer of wood-based materials, shared their story of expanding possibilities for growth by embracing brand consistency and innovation across different omnichannel digital experiences with their customers, with Digital Publishing being key and supported by InBetween. 
  • On Day 2, Royal Canin’s PXM Product Owner Sylvain Cavaillé explained how, with the growth of digital channels and new business models, they had been scaling their strategy (and tools) to support an omnichael channel approach at the service of pets and pet owners. They have secured a leading position by sharing, teaching and engaging with a community of passionate people.
  • We also had a very inspiring testimonial from Belco Coffee, to understand how, in a high-growth market such as the one Belco market and sell their sustainable coffees to, one should never compromise on the traceability and quality of the experience customers have with you just to meet ever-changing needs. Leslie Labord, head of Marketing and Vincent Fortin, head of IT, detailed how they want to engage their business partners and customers with high quality coffee and high quality product information.
  • The audience was also lucky to learn from Will Clayton, Lead Product Manager at Boohoo, how the group has enabled continued dynamic growth by implementing a robust, flexible and scalable single source of truth for product data, allowing its use to enhance customer experience, decision-making and process effectiveness, for their 13 market leading brands.
  • The last testimonial we were happy to listen to was from Stanislas Magnin, Director of Astore Marketplace at Accor group. He told us about their new procurement method for every single Accor hotel in the world, and the importance of providing the best product experience, building a core model for product information when you address so many different territories, with different maturity and different decision weight.

 

5. 6 hands-on sessions with Akeneo experts

All along these 2 days, for the first time, we offered hands-on sessions hosted by in-house experts from the Product team, the Professional Services team and Presales teams. It was a great occasion to (re)position the business value of the latest Akeneo PXM Studio capabilities and go deeper into their implementation.

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Attendees had to register prior to the sessions, and based on the real success it was, we promise we’ll offer more seats next year!

6. Babolat, Butlers, Jaguar Land Rover, Azelis, Revalize and JPW industries take home the PXM Awards

After Unlock attendees had their fill of PXM expertise for one day and the moon had risen, some Akeneo customers and partners got their moment in the sun as the winners of Unlock’s five awards were announced.

You’ll be able to discover their PXM stories and the reasons why they were 2022 Unlock PXM Awards winners in coming (very soon) dedicated blogposts.

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Thanks to all our customers, partners, and sponsors for making the 2022 Akeneo Unlock such a special event. We can’t wait to see you again next year!

We invite you to click the links to watch the full presentation recordings once you have had a small taste of them from this article.

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