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Use a PIM to get into gear and shrink your Time to Market !

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Omnichannel
15 March 2019

Change has become a mainstay in our modern environment : we’re living through an era in which the only stable notion is that of the permanent evolution of things. Everything is changing extremely quickly: markets, products, technologies, not to mention client expectations!

For companies, this means looking out for market fluctuations so as to be reactive and perpetuate them at the heart of product strategy.

In this constantly competitive context, “Time to Market” is at the heart of most companies’ development strategies.

What is the right definition of it though ? Why try to reduce it ? How ?

Here are a few clarifications.

Time to Market : one term, two definitions

The term Time to Market is used to designate two different concepts linked to two key stages of the product life cycle.

Time to Market for product creation

This term refers to the time lapse between the birth of a product idea and its commercialization. It includes all the product development phases, from the specification phase, to the production or product availability phase. The end result : a new product is launched onto the market

Time to Market for live product informationCharles Unsplash

In this context, Time to Market means the time lapse between a product arriving in stock and the information about it being made available to users. It includes the creation of product descriptions (texts, photos, technical info…), linking information (cross-selling and upselling), adaption to different distribution channels (e-commerce websites, storefronts, marketplaces, paper catalogues) and translations. The end result : potential buyers are made well aware of these products.

Although Time to Market refers to two different situations at separate stages of the product life cycle, both situations imply various actors and actions in order to reach their end result, which can create friction. In keeping, it makes sense to try and shorten them.

Reducing your Time to Market, it’s everybody’s priority…

Here’s why it is crucial for companies to reduce their Time to Market:

If we take the example of product creation, the company’s goal is to launch quickly before competitors get there first, benefit from a pioneer status advantage and seize the growth opportunities that come with it. Being the first to offer a product enables a company to establish itself as a referential brand in a particular field.

Once a product has been launched, product information has got to be available straight away. This information plays a pivotal role in the buyer’s decision making process, so it should be live asap and adapted to suit its target audience and the marketing channels that deliver it.

It turns out that in both cases the same obstacles are slowing collaborators down :

  • information overload, fragmentation and decontextualisation
  • redundant repetitive tasks, administrative weight and ill-adapted information management.

Can you get around these obstacles and improve your Time to Market?

PLM and PIM : start relying on the right tools

You can use 3 operational levers to accelerate your Time to Market :

  • Share documents and automate the dissemination of information
  • Share the task view transparently with all collaborators working on it
  • Automate work processes between collaborators in different departments

PLM (Product Lifecycle Management) – reduce Time to Market for product creation

The PLM is a tool destined for teams working on product creation (R&D, design teams, marketing, quality, conception, production…). It is used to track the different stages of ideation and conception. More often than not, it is implemented in the high-tech industry to track all the documentation surrounding the stages involved when creating a rocket or a smart card, for example. The different intermediaries and their contributions are clearly identified in the PLM which enables the design phase to be optimized, and validations and simulations can be anticipated.

PIM (Product information Management) – reduce Time to Market for product information

The PIM is the ideal tool for managing the process of shaping product information for market dissemination. It lightens the workload of content, photo, translation, marketing and e-commerce teams… A fashion retailer, for example, can use a PIM to manage product descriptions, link information with the right visuals, manage translations, diffuse information on different sales channels and even automatically generate a paper catalogue for the new collection.

Using a PLM to reduce Time to Market and make a product live faster doesn’t work unless you simultaneously address the Time to Market on the PIM side. When there is no orchestration between the two, you end up with a « tunnel effect » : the product exists but potential users don’t know about it because product information is not yet available.

Companies with the following circumstances are more greatly affected:

  • When your product range is renewed frequently, or content volumes are high : the PIM will enable you to fill out product descriptions more easily and accelerate your validation process ;
  • When you are positioned on new foreign markets : translations are generated in the PIM and each market is delivered the right product information in the appropriate language ;
  • When your aim is to open new sales channels for specific targets – the PIM enables you to select the information to be made available on each channel and automate the process.

Your Time to Market can give you a real competitive advantage. The PIM is a critical tool which helps you to reduce it by making it easy to make your product information available in the right place at the right time with the right content.

No matter what your line of business today, or how well designed your product strategy is, you will not gain a competitive edge without the tools to reduce your Time to Market.

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