17th Business Breakfast at foryouandyourcustomers Dusseldorf

On thursday, May 12, foryouandyourcustomers welcomed some 30 guests and partners to a business breakfast with Stibo Systems on their premises at Düsseldorf. How can organizations increase quality and thus value of their data and improve their multichannel business sustainably was the focus of discussions among guests and experts meeting in a creative atmosphere as usual.

“This business breakfast once more provided valuable lectures and an apt platform for active dialogues about efficient management of product data to our guests, among participants and with our partner Stibo Systems. That was our goal,” Axel Helbig said, CEO of foryouandyourcustomers Düsseldorf.

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Andreas Drexhage, PIM Expert of foryouandyourcustomers Düsseldorf and Stuttgart, started with his lecture stating that “companies’ investments into systems will yield benefits for customers only partially” summarizing his long-time practical experience. “The most important investments of time and resources are covering all the data which the systems are meant to take over. The quality of these data is decisive for the overall success of the system”, the senior consultant stresses.

“Data Quality is vital for overall success of the system.”

Andreas Drexhage entered the topic with a differentiation between data and knowledge: “Knowledge is data enriched by context.” As important as defining the term of “data quality” is a common understanding for which purposes data are needed. He listed several approaches how to measure data quality and compared scientific methods to verbal requirements ending up with practical criteria such as frequency of changes, overall time of documentation and expectations concerning ease-of-use.

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In the following, Drexhage rolled-out impacts and metrics derived from a matrix of requirements such as consistency, truth, flexibility, access and low cost. To all five dimensions of data quality he produced a scenario for each metric mentioning interdependencies between the dimensions.

The multichannel consultant does not agree with trustworthiness of metrics: “You can create a number cemetery about how complete is my data, feeling that you are done, but it is only statistics. Instead, humans should not stare at numbers, but the benefit of data is supposed to be increased!”, he argued.

Drexhage ended his detailed lecture summarizing expertise of 20 years of PIM projects concerning data quality: “You have to be inspired and live up to data quality.”

“Product Data will always be well-done where products are developed.”

“The importance of product data quality and classification is rising constantly”, Professor Dr. Uwe Kern of FOM Hochschule für Ökonomie und Management reports in his lecture. Assortments of goods are growing in complexity, as well as usage of channels and quantity of suppliers do increase, not to forget fast augmenting legal requirements to product communications, the scientist continues.

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Retail and industry differ in their needs concerning product data quality: Retailers prefer neutral product communication, best conditions for search and retrieval, optimization of sales and interfaces to printed media, whereas industrial ranges of products must be visible in all channels and meet requirements concerning data quality and interfaces. “When data of new products are not provided in acceptable quality, the product is not going to be accepted for sales”, Professor Kern reports.

Classification means investment: A supplier of 1000 items may deal with it, but for retailers covering huge assortments classification means strategic investment being inevitable from his point of view.

“Data quality determines growth”

Ian Rendall, Head of Tech Sales Europe at Stibo Systems, explained the strategic setting and corresponding product features of Stibo’s STEP Technology concerning product data quality. One of his key implications derived from detailed surveys and customer projects is “data quality determines growth.” Data turns out to be lubricant providing competitive advantages due to precision and granularity.” Rendall notes an awakening of organisations when it comes to data quality.

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STEP technology’s contribution to data quality consists of different algorithms for consolidation and verification providing “golden records” yielded by various sources. Automated algorithms and manual optimisation features enable users to consolidate and enrich data of persons, processes and products to upgrade them to a “trusted source” without losing track of their respective origins.

“Meeting customers expectations”, followed by cost aspects due to “improved data management” are the most important impacts on customer experience according to Ian Rendall. Reducing time to market plays an evenly important role. “We are talking about days instead of weeks concerning product launches.”

When meeting with speakers and team members the guests confirmed the growing importance of product data quality in cooperation with suppliers, when challenged by investing in new systems or in operations of internationalisation: “Investment into Master Data Management will only pay off when combined with corresponding resources for data quality management!”