Finnish PIM study 2022

For the second year in a row, the Finnish PIM study is a unique survey of the state of product information management in Finland. If you want to better understand product information management, how Finnish companies utilize it in their own operations and how your company can use it to gain a competitive advantage, you now have the opportunity to be part of the research and its results. The experiences and insights around the topic are really valuable, so please contribute to our study via the link at the end of the article.

PIM study 2021 and its key findings

In 2021, more than a hundred Finnish people working in the field of product information management participated in our survey, which was the first of its kind in Finland. The survey was conducted both as an online survey and as an interview survey.

One of the key findings of the study was that as many as 84% ​​consider product information management to be a critical factor in their business. In addition, up to 76% considered the importance of product information to be high when customers make purchasing decisions about products. The study also found out how product information is put to good use today and what plans there are for using it in the future.

New PIM study 2022

We have launched a new study, the results of which will allow you to see how the situation has developed in the midst of the digitalisation of sales driven by the Corona Year, and what are the key developments in product information management in 2022.

All participants in the research will have access to the research results as soon as the research is completed, as well as an invitation to a webinar where Finland’s leading product information management experts will open the research results.

Participate in the survey from the link below. For each response we will make a donation to support the activities of the Finnish Mental Health Association.

The survey is in Finnish and done anonymously. It takes about five minutes of your time.

Sales enablement trends in 2021

Paulus Perkkiö, Seidat Oy

Patrik Palatz, Canter Oy

In the interview, Seidat’s CEO Paulus Perkkiö and Canter’s CEO Patrik Palatz.

Sales Enablement is anything but traditional sales management, it’s enabling sales. This strategic way of working supports successful sales and enables the necessary materials and tools.

The year 2020 completely changed the way sales work was done, as customer encounters shifted to virtual meetings, and sales organizations had to revamp their old familiar practices. We interviewed Paulus Perkkiö, CEO of Seidat, and Patrik Palatz, CEO of Canter, and asked what big sales trends the year 2021 will bring.

Sales management changes

Palatz: Leadership is in a big transformation. In 2021, the change in sales management will continue from controlling to enabling management, where the core idea is to create the best possible trading conditions for salespeople and sales teams. One of the basic ideas behind it is how to turn an average salesperson into a top salesperson.

Perkkiö: Success requires empowerment and human focus. Sales Enablement tools that support sales should be such that they support the interaction between the seller and the customer. With the help of the tools, customer data is also generated automatically and the seller does not have to handle customer reporting separately, for example.

System’s ecosystem

Perkkiö: The big sales trends are accompanied by tools to support sales work, but that does not mean that the number of systems needs to increase. Different systems in the same ecosystem can be integrated with each other, merging into one whole. The ecosystem allows the salesperson to have the content and information they need at their best through a single interface, such as the Adeona Sales Tool or Seidat. Effective data transfer works discreetly in the background and streamlines working hours, eliminating unnecessary work steps.

Palatz: Different platforms have their own roles, and together they form a whole that serves the needs of the company. It is easy to add services designed for specific needs to a well-designed entity. In micro-services, good interfaces are important because they allow information to flow between systems.

Analysis and data

Perkkiö: Various figures and analytics are important tools for the salesperson to manage themselves, as the data provides a lot of relevant information related to the customer relationship. In Seidat, the seller sees the status of the customer in the system, for example, such as whether he has read the materials sent by the seller or passed them on. The status allows the seller to see when it is the right timing to open a conversation with the customer. Data is also an important tool for sales management for process design and team development.

Palatz: Data also provides better customer understanding and can minimize purchasing path bottlenecks. The quality of basic information, such as customer and product information, affects the implementation of Sales Enablement practices. Adeona PIM ensures the high quality of product data and a versatile product information model. When these are utilized in e-commerce and sales materials, information can be collected with which to develop operations.

The meaning of remote work

Perkkiö: Hybrid model and remote working are the ways of working in the future. Unfortunately, sales organizations that have been left waiting to return to the old will be cold. Teleworking is one of the biggest sales trends of the year and will also intensify during 2021. Change requires cloud-based solutions that enable telecommuting and related challenges, as well as effective teamwork, no matter where the team is physically located.

Palatz: It can no longer be thought that the marketing department helps every time customer-specific sales materials are needed. Sales must have good tools at their disposal that enable the production of just the right content, brand-specific and customer-specific sales materials at the touch of a button.

Perkkiö: After all, sales are pretty technical. Without the right Sales Enablement tools and cloud solutions, human hands would not be enough – automated processes have to run in the background. It is the seller’s job to focus on the essential, i.e., interaction with the customer, and with modern sales management, this is possible.

tuotetiedonhallinta akilleen kantapää

The challenges and opportunities of Product Information Management

Explanation: The year of the Corona revealed Achilles’ heel in Finnish companies – The current quality of product information does not succeed in international competition.

Although product information is considered a critical factor in a customer’s purchasing decision, companies are not satisfied with its management, a survey of product information professionals reveals

 

The Corona year 2020 made Finnish companies wake up to the potential of digital platforms and e-commerce. A survey commissioned by Canter says companies expect the share of sales through digital channels to almost double within the next two years.

As digital commerce becomes more important, the importance of product information also increases. Product information refers to all product-related information that is used to serve the customer at different stages of the purchasing path and customer relationship. 76% of the companies that responded to the survey considered product information to be a major or very large factor in the customer’s purchasing decision.

Although product information was considered a critical success factor, respondents had poor control over its management. Only 11 percent of respondents felt very satisfied with their company’s current product information management. As many as 33 percent estimate they have lost sales due to incorrect or incomplete product information.

“This year, the eyes of more and more Finnish companies have opened up to the importance of digital commerce and thus the importance of product information. On the B2B side in particular, the conformity of the product and its suitability for the intended use are emphasized. The simple truth is that a customer doesn’t buy if they don’t know,” says Patrik Palatz, CEO of Canter, a provider of centralized product information management solutions.

Information is scattered in ERPs and Excel, although centralized product information management would help

According to Finnish companies, the most significant problems in managing product information are the fragmentation of information in different systems and the lack of uniform operating models.

“Indeed, many product information management professionals who responded to the survey described a situation where product information is fragmented into many parallel systems and behind several different people. Transporting product information living in ERPs, excels or colleagues’ hats to sales channels and materials puts a painful amount of manual work in companies,” says Palatz of the survey.

It is possible to automate product information management with Product Information Management, or PIM systems. PIM solutions facilitate centralized management of commercial product information as the information can be updated to different sales channels from a single location.

The results of a study commissioned by Canter provide a strong signal of the benefits of centralized commercial product information management. More than 70 percent of companies using a centralized PIM solution said they were fairly or very satisfied with their company’s product information management, and 44 percent said they were satisfied with the quality of their product information. In contrast, nearly 70 percent of companies operating without a PIM solution were dissatisfied with their company’s product information management, and only 20 percent were satisfied with the quality of the product information.

“Companies focusing on product information management highlighted clear business benefits. The speed, ease, and automation of product information management allows for a better focus on areas that are important to online sales and marketing, such as content-rich content. In companies where commercial product information management is not centralized, the emphasis is still often on basic issues such as ensuring the accuracy of product information and an adequate level of quality, ”says Palatz.

Amazon is interesting, but getting there requires enrichment

The survey also examined the attitudes of Finnish companies towards Amazon, Google Shopping or various sectoral marketplaces. These were considered interesting by more than a third, or 35%, of respondents.

The expansion of trade to platforms such as Amazon further emphasizes the importance of product information and its centralized management: for example, product descriptions require market-specificity and several different language and unit versions. Product content is also a way to differentiate yourself from your competitors.

“Domestic companies selling consumer products in particular see Amazon, Google Shopping and other marketplaces as important ways to reach a more global customer base,” Palatz interprets the survey responses.

Centralized product information management solutions also help enrich product information, such as linking videos, user stories, guides, or product links to basic information. 87% of the respondents estimate that enriched product information is an important differentiating factor in digital channels.

“The power of recommendation in an online store is huge. If a company is able to enrich its product information with, for example, tip videos, reviews from other users, or inspiring use examples, it will gain an advantage over its competitors. Communication related to responsibility and ethical values ​​is also becoming increasingly important, ”says Palatz.

The study carried out by Canter in November 2020 was the first study to extensively examine the state of product information management in Finland. The electronic survey and qualitative telephone interviews were attended by experts and decision-makers working in the commercial product information management of more than 100 different companies. The study was carried out on behalf of Canter by research agency Vastakaiku Oy.

 

More information:

Patrik Palatz, President and CEO, Canter OY

Phone number +358 40 774 1200

patrik.palatz@canter.fi

Tuotetiedonhallinta

The ABC of Product Information Management

Investing in product information management directly affects both the company’s competitiveness and the efficiency of internal processes. At the heart of success is a management model that takes product information management into account as part of the company’s strategy and authorizes the loss of responsibility through clear processes. Product information management is managed with an open and long-term approach.

 

Product information management is not an IT project. It is a strategic choice, and requires leadership, implementation, and patience to succeed. What are the biggest pitfalls of product information management and how can they be avoided?

“Implementing product information management is a change process. The process usually starts where the pain is greatest, that is, where data management is at a concrete level. However, the change cannot be confined to one unit but must cover the entire company with its different levels. It requires a change in practices, but in particular, it requires the ability to lead change. The change must be led in the long run” says Minna Andersson, Canter’s Head of Sales and Marketing.

When a company’s mission is to create more impressive product experiences, it also materializes for the end user – through the implementation of organized product information management.

The importance of product information plays a major role in the customer’s purchase decision. As many as 76% of the respondents to the “Product Information Management in Finland in 2021” survey conducted by Canter and the research office Vastakaiku considered the importance of product information and product contents to be highly important for the customer’s purchase decision.

“Easy access to information also affects the customer’s place of purchase. Product information enriches content, creates new marketing opportunities and thus makes the company stand out from the competition,” says Panu Erola, Vastakaiku’s strategic research consultant.

 

Change is an opportunity for leadership

Permanent change requires long-term leadership. Good management is a prerequisite for success in the implementation and systematic use of product information management.

“As the process progresses, a wide variety of emotions arise. It can be a major crisis for a professional who manages an organization’s knowledge, a place of inadequacy for another, and a growth experience that inspires professional enthusiasm for a third. The awakened emotional states of all must be recognized and taken into account, as change requires mental endurance and encouragement. Only then can the organisation’s joint development in product information management continue,”Andersson explains.

Challenges posed by Covid19

 

Respondents to the Product Information Management in Finland survey estimate that sales of digital channels will double in the coming years. The biggest growth was in e-commerce, digital services, applications, websites and social media.

“Corona put the companies in the middle of a new situation. One had to learn to act quickly in a way that was only a goal for some companies within a few years. Dare to step into a new norm paid off. Online trading and virtual events became part of the everyday life of companies,” lists Katariina Tenhunen, CEO of Vastakaiku.

57% of companies with product information management in use experienced improved competitiveness during the pandemic, while only 33% of those without product information management felt that their competitiveness had improved. 84% of respondents consider centralized product information management to be a critical factor for future success.

The pitfalls of Product Information Management

Product information management must be based on a strategic understanding of what is to be done and what is to be changed. If the overall picture is not stopped, development becomes challenging and easily drifts into sub-optimization.

Another major stumbling block is the lack of understanding and support.

“There may be people within a company who are willing to drive change, but without the support of business management, the enthusiasm of those cannot be harnessed and implemented for others. Lack of support also automatically affects resourcing. When an issue is not seen as significant at the management level, it is also not allocated working hours or a budget,” says Andersson.

 

It is never too late to wake up to the current situation and strive for change in product information management.

Organizational attitude and understanding

Nothing comes by commanding or waiting. But with leadership.

Many of the respondents to the survey pointed out that their own desire to invest in the product information management process was dampened because other staff did not see the issue as important. When the overall picture is not clear, it is not possible to detect its far-reaching nature either. This, in turn, only makes the moment standing and tempos about doing. It is especially important to focus on what is being developed and with what mentality.

“Product information management should be at the heart of the business and have peace to develop. Perseverance and thematic advancement create the foundation on which to develop a strong future,” says Andersson.

 

How to influence the attitudes in the company and create commitment?

In a company where information is power, the introduction of product information management can cause its own challenges and a sense of being threatened by some individuals. Then it is paramount to communicate what is happening and why, how product information management helps everyone – including those responsible for information – and how many positive things it can bring to everyone’s job description as information sharing becomes open and transparent.

“An employee can get more pleasant and extensive work tasks when time is freed up from copying and reviewing information to other things. People are involved in change when they know how they can benefit from it,” says Andersson.

Tutkimuksen tulokset

Excerpt from the Product Information Management in Finland 2021 survey

how has the competitiveness of your company changed in the market with the corona pandemic? 1 – very much weakened, 5 – very much improved

Top left: (companies with) PIM in use
Left center: (companies with) PIM not in use
Lower left: All respondents

Dialogue and transparency

The product information management process requires a two-way dialogue from the organization; horizontal and vertical, but also transparency towards customers and partners.

“It is essential for product information managers to make their own work visible in the organization and to be able to communicate openly upwards so that management stays on the map and knows how critical it is,” says Patrik Palatz, CEO of Canter.

Organization and responsibilities 

If the division of responsibilities for product information management is unclear, it will inevitably pose challenges.

The absence of a person in charge of product information management in one’s own unit can also lead to a detached and decentralized understanding, in which case the entire organization suffers from sprinkled information and its management.

“Everything starts with business and organizational DNA. What kind of management system does the company have? It’s not worth bringing too different a new way to everyday life that goes against an organization’s normal corporate culture,” Palatz explains.

Who or what team is responsible for data and knowledge capital development, who is responsible for information and content themselves? Data ownership can be decentralized, different sections can be responsible for different content. However, so that everyone has a role to play and everyone is communicated transparently within the organization.

“When responsibilities are shared in an organization in an organized way, things work,” Canter CEO Palatz continues.

It is important to remember that it is not just a project but bringing product information management into the organization is a strategic choice. It has to be kept in mind all the time.

In what role can the person in charge be responsible for product information management? In some companies, the responsibility lies in marketing, in others at the IT end.

“The key is to find those executives who are committed to the knowledge capital development project and architectural development. However, strategic development plays a key role, so the dissemination of information through key personnel should take place for everyone, everywhere,” Palatz explains.

Operating models and processes

When a company invests in product information management and knowledge capital development, it begins to show in everything it does. The information is better up-to-date and comprehensively displayed and the information is available to all departments. The system supports doing and and doing business.

Clear operating models and processes support the management of product information management and ensure consistency in everyday life. Agreed operating models play a big role.

“The product information management process is teamwork. Management openness and the systematic advancement of the matter with the support of team leaders, as well as general communication bring results over time. The understanding of goal setting and the message cannot be outsourced to the recipient of the message, therefore the clearest possible communication and open atmosphere support the process in the best way,”Palatz concludes.

At its best, product information management creates a lot of opportunities for a company. As customer needs grow and they increasingly demand information service in addition to purchasing behavior, product information management is an essential tool for maintaining and growing the customer base.

“Product information management creates competitive advantage and differentiation from competitors,” Palatz sums up.

 

5 tips for the Product Information Management process

 

  1. Product information management must be managed: commitment comes from leadership.
  2. Involve the entire ecosystem from the start – documentation saves time and effort.
  3. Product information management requires a lot of resources at first, but over time it makes life easier and eliminates unnecessary duplication.
  4. Everything is done with the customer in mind.
  5. One thing at a time: not everything can be done right away, it is an ongoing process.

The text is based on the Product Information Management webinar held on March 25, 2021, which you can watch here (in Finnish). The topic of the webinar is Managing Product Information Management – typical stumbling blocks and avoiding them. The webinar will also cover the Product Information Management in Finland research conducted by Canter’s experts and the research agency Vastakaiku Oy. The main goal of the study was to map what is the current state of product information management, challenges, significance for the company’s competitiveness and what product information management will give the company in the future.

 

The respondents were mainly professionals and experts working in product information management who have to look at the issue from a management perspective. The study obtained an even distribution of companies of different sizes from different industries.