Product Information Management in B2B: who is responsible for product data?

Understanding of a PIM system is still missing in the B2B area.  At the same time, we are witnessing two trends determining the growing importance of product information management (PIM) for purchased and manufactured products.

Firstly, it is the rise of online trading in the B2B segment. Sales and marketing models have traditionally been built around large sales forces, C-suite relationships, and enterprise-wide implementations. A disruptive new sales model, however, is emerging: digital-enabled enterprise sales more closely resembles B2C e-commerce models where large enterprise customers can research, test, and start paying for products without stepping away from their computer and with minimal sales touches.  According to Forrester PIM report 2014, Q2 Mobile, eCommerce, and online channels are where customers go to get information about products. Increasingly, marketing is going digital to be where customers are. To communicate accurate and consistent product information across an omnichannel landscape, they need a PIM solution to overcome the scale and complexity digital channels create.  Forrester reports the emergence of a new breed of PIM buyers coming from the Marketing department, responsible for all customer-facing product data, accelerating the introduction of new products, increasing the number of products carried, supporting myriad channel partners, and above all ensuring a consistent cross-channel customer experience. We expect that on the sale side marketing departments will drive PIM initiatives.

Secondly, it is the decentralization of the procurement function in corporations. Spend management shrink is the number one trend in Ariba Vision 2020 report where visionary procurement leaders predict the future of procurement.  “The spend management function will be very small by 2020,” says Larry Welch, former Vice President of Indirect Procurement with Hewlett-Packard. “You will see a strong central core that does horizontal work — ensuring that all the right processes and tools, skills, relationships, templates, and performance metrics are in place across business lines and functions.” But, while enterprise-level spend management functions shrink in the coming decade, Welch and many other project participants see more supplier-facing positions being created at high levels in the strategic lines of business that comprise a corporate enterprise. “Functional procurement is something that should disappear by 2020,” agrees Javier Urioste, former CPO with several non-IT organizations.

On buy side PIM initiative will be driven by corporate procurement as well as corporate IT.  Procurement initiative is transferred from the central procurement department to the end users, therefore increases the requirements for product information data quality, and information systems supporting processes to identify, compare and select products.

As soon as understanding of PIM solutions will grow, we expect that initiatives to implement Product Information Management solutions and improve related processes will come from different business units, first of all, from sales&marketing and procurement.

Related articles

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *