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Akeneo PIM 1.6 is almost out… Time to have a chat with Emilie and Nicolas, from the core team!
Hey there, could you introduce yourselves?
Emilie: Hi, my name is Emilie and I am Product Manager at Akeneo. My responsibilities include maximizing the business value of our products on the market. I create strategies, produce road maps and ensure the success with the support of our great teams.
Nicolas: Hi, I’m Nicolas, R&D Manager, and as such, I lead the engineering team and support our teammates in theirs day-to-day achievements. In the context of our accelerated growth, I’m also hiring new talents, re-designing the organisation and building playgrounds for new activities.
The Akeneo PIM 1.6 will be launched on August 30. What is the strategy behind this new version?
Emilie: Version 1.6 fits into a “scale & optimize” approach. After years of iterations and tests, we have been able to isolate some of the features that we want to implement on a large scale or refine even further, still preserving precision and high quality.
Nicolas: Version 1.6 also results from our continuous Developer eXperience Improvement strategy. The main idea is to simplify customization from an integrator’s perspective, and help them better meet user expectations.
What improvements can be expected for the marketers on a day-to-day basis?
Emilie: Marketing teams will be more and more independent in their daily activities, by appropriating the tool and using it the way they want. A better control helps team increase efficiency and productivity. They can focus on their main tasks and better leverage their expertise, which is much more rewarding.
How do you work inside Akeneo to improve the product and to develop new features?
Emilie: Akeneo PIM reflects perfectly our organization. We are deeply attached to a flat model where everybody knows exactly how to offer their best. We nurture a particular way of thinking in which everybody can express their ideas. We share a common open-source culture, and also a huge respect for our community. We believe in humility and care for our users by helping them with our products. We set up workshops with our clients. We attend events to discuss recurring business issues, and global market and omni-channel challenges. We put our ears to good use, and when we have identified a recurring issue or challenge, we implement simple solutions in our products, to stimulate user adoption.
Nicolas: Collaboration is the keyword. We exchange a lot with our clients, leads, and partners. From an organizational perspective, the engineering team is made of squads. Each squad is independent and focuses on a specific goal: e.g. develop new features to increase business value for our clients, support clients and partners, improve product architecture… Each squad is cross-functional, and include developers (backend, frontend, full stack), a product owner, a UX designer, a scrum master… They work together to turn an idea into a user-friendly, integrated and scalable solution.
Will this new version provide evolutions for the previous versions users?
Emilie: Absolutely! Our users will be able to work natively with Excel. As Excel remains a pervasive tool in many organizations to share product information inside and outside the organization. The idea is not to eliminate Excel, but to enable efficient communications. Our users will be able to select products and information they want to export, directly in Excel.
What are the main features of 1.6 version?
Emilie: At Akeneo, we work with persona to identify developer-integrator needs. While the UX (User eXperience) addresses user interfaces, DX (Developer eXperience) addresses technical interfaces or APIs. In version 1.6, we redesigned the import/export DX to make it even simpler and easier to integrate Akeneo PIM with our customers Information Systems (IS). Connection with an ERP, a media library or an e-commerce platform has to be as easy as possible, so users can focus on their expertise and daily tasks. What are the products in the catalog? How do teams work together to enrich product pages? These are the core PIM challenges. The easier it is to develop connectors, the more it is possible to multiply information collection points and bring it in the PIM, and the more it is possible to distribute it on the growing number of third-party applications relying on this information. A PIM should not be an obstacle, but rather a driving force for multi-channel distribution, without compromising the existing internal IS.
Nicolas: When starting development on version 1.6, we consulted with developers working with our partners to identify and qualify the custom developments they were producing for their clients, and focused our attention on the issues they were facing. This feedback allowed us to improve the Developer eXperience (DX), in other words, to make Akeneo PIM customization easier and greater. In this version we especially focused on enhancing the import / export parts to make easier the connectivity of Akeneo PIM with third party systems.
What are the next steps for Akeneo PIM?
Emilie: We will continue focusing on DX and connector development. We want to bring the contributions of our community to our clients, and create an ecosystem around Akeneo products. We are also going to pursue our efforts on UX, to provide our users with more flexibility and autonomy. All these efforts are aligned with our values: simplicity, openness, benevolence.
Nicolas: Make it even more simple and user-friendly in every possible area.