Icon representing a continuous lifecycle. Several colorful circles overlapping to create a larger circle. On top of that are two white arrows indicating continuous movement of the circle.

Whether documented or not, your business already has a product data lifecycle of some kind. Odds are, it has grown organically as your business scaled, and your team has always managed to get product data where it needs to go. So, where’s the problem?

A strong understanding of the product data lifecycle is the foundation for omnichannel ecommerce. This entails not just the “what” and “where” of product data creation and enrichment. It also includes the critical “when” each field of your product’s data is ready for production. If this mapping isn’t complete, it’s easy for digital transformation projects to disrupt or even break existing processes and systems.

Sound familiar? Symptoms of a non-optimized product data lifecycle look like this:

  • No systems or process documentation
    You aren’t sure if your current tech stack is ideal for your business needs
  • Multiple versions of the same data across different departments
    There are questions about which version is the most recent or most complete
  • Duplicate work and rework across the organization
    Your top employees are wasting time tracking down data
  • Manual errors resulting in inaccurate published product data
    Creates customer frustration and erodes trust in your brand
  • Adding or expanding an ecommerce or marketplace channel requires an army
    Key product lifecycle data is only held by specialized knowledge workers on your team
Four black circles of different sizes. Clockwise from the top left, the circles are labeled ERP, DAM, PLM, and Supplier data. Each circle includes smaller circles in various colors and quantities Between the circles are smaller circles of various colors, with icons on some indicating documents, videos, and other file types.

Why you need to map your product data lifecycle

Product information management (PIM) software can transform your product data lifecycle. But PIM doesn’t address the efficiencies you can gain across the entire product data lifecycle journey. This is because most data fields related to your product don’t originate in PIM. For manufacturers and distributors, many start in an ERP or PLM system.

PIM software is an essential part of any product-based, omnichannel business. But it is only one step in the entire product journey.

What is product data lifecycle mapping?

Product data lifecycle maps show every platform in your current product data ecosystem. Through the mapping process, our team works with your in-house product experts and marketers to identify what product fields are created in which systems. We determine when those fields are ready for deployment to a PIM system or other output.

Product process and system documentation gives you a visual roadmap for optimization. You’ll see duplication in some systems and gaps where others should go. This informs your software investments and illustrates which processes should be automated or updated.

Product data lifecycle mapping is often conducted as part of a larger PIM system analysis or product data consulting project. It provides context for strategic decision making. But it’s also an excellent standalone project for businesses who want to better understand their product data flows.

Complex illustration showing a potential flow of systems. On the left, disparate systems are represented (PLM, ERP, and a slew of different file types). On the right, a standardized system of squares and rectangles, connected by arrows, with colorful dots on each line representing the standardized flow of data.
Layered illustration. Each layer is a different color. The front layer is black. It's labeled "platform optimization strategy" and includes gray squares labeled ERP, PLM, CRM, and DAM. Behind that are three other layers. The first is blue, labeled "streamline your product data processes." Next is red, labeled "PIM system recommendations." And last is yellow, labeled "roles and responsibilities."

How Ntara approaches product data lifecycle mapping

A map is only good to you if you know where you are and where you are going. More than just a series of documentation, Ntara’s consulting deliverables give you actionable insights. An Ntara product data lifecycle map will tell you:

  • Which platforms to add, remove, or adjust
    Reduce cost and increase value by optimizing your software ecosystem
  • How to streamline your product data processes
    Automate where possible to increase overall efficiency
  • If you need a PIM system, or if your existing PIM system is optimally deployed
    What information should be hitting the PIM at which time, or is a PIM system necessary for your organization
  • Who’s doing what at which point in the process
    Understand pain points and how they affect performance

Product data lifecycle mapping informs your roles and responsibilities. This frees up time for your staff to focus on higher value things.

What you get from a product data lifecycle mapping 

By the end of this project, you’ll have documentation of your current state and your plan for the future, including:

Black icon of a diagram

Current system diagram

How your product ecosystem captures and transfers product data today

Black icon of a diagram

Proposed system diagram

How your product ecosystem should change to best suit your company needs

Black icon of a maze with an arrow

Product timeline & journey map

Where product fields originate, when they’re final, and workflow considerations

Black icon of a computer monitor

Efficiency and consistency recommendations

Big picture plan to efficiently create product data and address consistency concerns

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