Recently, Frank Kennedy, Product Director, Ecommerce, shared his perspectives about Workhuman and his company’s product information management experience with Syndigo. We thank him for his thoughts and guidance for others.
At Workhuman, our Mission is to make work more human for every person on the planet. We do this through our Social Recognition and Continuous Performance Management platforms (the Workhuman Cloud).
We have been providing Social Recognition since 1999. This is peer-to-peer employee recognition around the values and ethos of the organization the employees work for. Employees can nominate each other for awards, and if these awards are approved, their peers can see these awards on the company awards feed and celebrate the recipient.
The awards give recipients points to spend on our global Ecommerce Stores.
We have Ecommerce Stores in over 100 countries and 35 languages with hundreds of thousands of locally fulfilled products and gift cards from all the top brands and merchants.
How is data and managing product data in particular supporting you in achieving business value?
We have a relatively lean Ecommerce team managing a huge product assortment, supplier network, merchandising and promotional strategies etc. so we needed a single system for managing all this. Having automation and business rules is vital to ensuring data quality within our product catalogue… and the Syndigo MDM solution is central in allowing us to achieve this. The right products, available in the right regions, for the right price with the right product information is essential for a complex global operation. We couldn’t achieve this without a PIM.
What kind of objectives did you have for self-sufficiency when you started with PIM?
At our core is a highly skilled software development group and we have been building sophisticated web and cloud products for over 20 years using Agile frameworks, releasing multiple product updates each week. Our goal was always to take over the implementation of new features and processes within the PIM as we knew we had the in-house skills and development frameworks to do it.
How important is getting the right training?
We found the Syndigo University Platform training very important and a great foundation for taking the first steps to becoming self-sufficient, designing data models, business rules etc.
What were the top challenges you faced? And how did you overcome them?
While the training is very good, you do need hands-on experience developing and implementing changes within the platform and also guidance along the way from Syndigo experts.
Partnering with a Syndigo Solutions consultant was a terrific way for us to quickly come up the learning curve as we started developing within the platform. The ability for our product managers, architects and developers to have weekly sessions and ad-hoc sessions with the solutions consultant was vital in ensuring we were adopting the best Syndigo techniques for solving the Workhuman process problems.
Why is it better to be self-sufficient?
We can be far more nimble and can support our business team in a much more meaningful way. We no longer need to be dependent on the capacity of a 3rd party development team and development roadmap. We are “masters of our own destiny” from that perspective.
What would you advise someone who is just starting on their PIM journey?
A few key things:
- Be clear about the problems you are trying to solve – both near term and longer term.
- Be open to change regarding how you solve those problems. It can be difficult to change legacy business processes and there will be temptation to cling to the “old way” of managing data but the MDM/PIM will give you the option to manage data in an industry-standard and efficient manner. If that doesn’t exactly match the way you currently manage your data – examine those legacy business processes to see if they really make sense.
- Avoid trying to “force” the PIM/MDM in a direction it is not intended to go. Complex customizations can be problematic to maintain and you may ultimately end up re-doing them.
- Enlist the services of a Syndigo PIM consultant to review your data management “roadmap” and to consult with you as you plan and implement changes in the MDM/PIM.
- Put in place version control processes for your Development, QA and Production MDM/PIM environments – and ensure your Syndigo consultant is on-board with these processes.