Overcoming the top challenges to PIM 360 implementation

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In any master data management project there are quite a few aspects that program managers, architects and service integrators would focus on in order to have a successful implementation from a budget, time and quality perspective. The key pillars of an MDM implementation are Process, Governance, Architecture and Technology.

As a hands-on practitioner, I would like to focus on top three aspects from both a business (covering process and governance) and IT (covering technology and architecture) perspective.

The program deals with implementing PIM 360 for streamlining Item induction and replace the corporate item entry portal. As part of the phase 1 implementation, the key scope is to integrate Suppliers with Item Create and Update.

Business Prerogatives

Provide enough time for Functional Requirements

Typically, the requirements gathering and analysis is scheduled for four to six week period for a six month project implementation. In order for the implementation to go on time, it is suggested to have these sessions well planned.

As the business would commit a timeline on the cutover and go-live, any significant delays (more than 50 percent) in finalizing functional requirements would have a direct impact on the design, build and test timelines. This would result in compromising on the quality of the implementation and pushing some requirements to future phases.

Usability review to be scheduled as early as possible

For any MDM implementation to be considered successful, the adoption by the end users is critical. Business in collaboration with IT team should schedule usability review sessions on the user interface for Item onboarding as early as possible.

Typically, during and after these sessions, there are changes that would be suggested. If these are scheduled during build or test phases, the changes might impact the adoption rate and also could impact the implementation timelines.

Early involvement of Business teams for Functionality Testing

In order for smooth execution of user acceptance, it is advisable for the functional/business teams to get a sneak peek of the issues being encountered during functional testing. Early involvement would also reduce any issues for creating one time data load files, increase the familiarity of tool for various maintenance and governance related activities.

IT Prerogatives

Understand the Out of Box functionality vs Customizations

Once functional requirements are finalized, consider doing a traceability matrix to address all the requirements. Typically, before starting an implementation, Tool Evaluation is performed. But this is usually at a higher level and completed by the sales teams of the product vendors. Hence, a detailed analysis of requirement’s Vs functionality available in the product should be performed during detailed design phase.

Any gaps can be addressed by customizations (also referred to as extensions). This might also uncover some of the tool limitations and can be communicated appropriately to business and end users.

Don’t underestimate the time needed for Workflows

While there are multiple components in PIM 360 as a product, Workflows (i.e Item Create, Item Enrich, Assign Taxonomies) becomes a key component that technical team needs to consider taking the most time. Underestimating the complexity, time needed to build a workflow irrespective of the workflow having 5 steps or 20 steps could cause a significant delay in finishing the build and test phases.

The workflow build also needs to consider integrating all the data quality checks at various points. It is advised to consider 30 percent to 40 percent of overall build effort for Workflow completion.

Automate data validation as much as possible

While performing one-time loads including items, suppliers, cross reference tables, List of values etc., create automation processes either by using data comparison tools or leverage a database to perform query based checks.

For this plan to create specific export templates from PIM Hub, the export templates would be leveraged during all the data migration and conversions during various phases such as Integration testing, mock conversions and cutover.

While the above are very important aspects, there are various other parameters to consider for a successful implementation.

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