Who is the Company

The company is a subsidiary of a retail giant that manages its unified global loyalty platform.

The Challenge

The company struggled to obtain data on their 40K+ products from hundreds of vendors, each using a different system.

The products had no preconfigured attributes, which resulted in incorrect and inconsistent data. For instance, if two different vendors were selling the same product, the data returned from them might appear differently. One vendor might include information on product color and spell the attribute as “color,” whereas another might spell the same attribute as “colour” instead.

To further compound the problem, different vendors reported different attributes, making cohesive product data analysis challenging to accomplish. The company had no way to enforce specific key product attributes in their current system. Without this control company, analysts had to sift through duplicate and overlapping data points to relate data fragments of the same product.

In summary, the company needed:

  • Unified access to product data from all vendors:The company was looking for a solution that consolidated product data provided by its vendors into a centralized system.
  • Control over product attributes: A chaotic mix of product data made the process of analyzing product data difficult. The company needed a way to require vendors to report on a uniform set of key attributes. Further, the company needed a way to mandate selected attributes.
  • Access to multilingual product data: Lack of multilingual product data was another challenge the company faced. Access to product data in different languages was essential for a global corporation with a worldwide presence.
  • Lower maintenance costs: The company had to deal with multiple systems and vendors, requiring a large staff. Lots of data needed to be compiled into spreadsheets, which was a time-consuming manual process that increased resource costs.

The Solution

After carefully analyzing company requirements, our Application Development and QE teams decided to integrate the Stibo Systems Enterprise Platform (STEP) for product information management. STEP is a proven and open platform that handles product management across multiple systems.

Here is a list of Stibo Systems PIM features our teams implemented:

Feature Description
Import Manager Creates products from external XML feeds.
Attribute / Attribute Values Manages predefined, dynamic, and calculated attributes and their values. These attributes are reusable and help in providing rich product data.
Workflow Reviews product enrichment and provides an approval chain.
Translators Translates content into a configurable list of languages.
Authentication / Authorization Facilitates PIM access control.
Export Manager Reformats and exports products and attribute data for downstream system consumption.
Transformers Java-based logic that transforms product data that originates from different input sources into a single unified format acceptable to the Stibo Systems PIM.
Delivery Connectors Supports bulk and real-time data transfers to downstream systems.

Our Stibo PIM implementation provides data to downstream systems using Rabbit MQ, producing streaming data on demand. Our team also provided an FTP (File Transfer Protocol) endpoint for consumption by legacy systems. They followed Agile best practices in development and used Jira for the issue and project tracking.

Key takeaways from the solution:

  • Comprehensive product information management: Previously, each vendor provided its own attributes, making it difficult to get a comprehensive view of product data. Administrators can now manage attribute mapping in the new system, providing comprehensive product information for user consumption.
  • On-demand omnichannel product data: The company can now provide product data on-demand across all its channels.
  • Expanded reporting: Previously, if the company had not published a product on any of its channels, it could not obtain information on the product’s status. Draft-stage product information is now available. In addition, reporting based upon any configuration product attributes is also available.

Business Impact

  • 50% faster product time to market: Previously, the time it took to get a product to market took up to six weeks. The new system reduces the time to an average of three weeks. This allows the company to be more responsive to changing market demands.
  • Production bottlenecks can now be easily identified: Because company administrators now have access to information on products still in the draft stage, production bottlenecks can be quickly identified and resolved.
  • Improved customer satisfaction and retention: The availability of a unified set of attributes has vastly improved the customer search experience, leading to greater customer satisfaction and retention.
  • Frees up company resources and saves money: Previously, company administrators had to deal with multiple vendors and systems, which was a drain on resources. The new system alleviates the need for manual processing and using spreadsheets. This frees company resources, allowing them to save money and reallocate staff to more pressing needs.

Technologies Used

Stibo Systems PIM: Cloud-based product information management platform
Java: Popular web-oriented programming language
Rabbit MQ: Open-source package that provides high-speed streaming message broker services
Jira: Platform based on Agile software development methodology used for project and issue tracking

Related Capabilities

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