“What is the best way to talk about a geeky subject and make it intriguing for everyone, even to those who do not work in a related field?”
After wrapping up another workday containing “all things PIM,” and heading out to walk the dog, I began listening to an audiobook on the topic of Mindfulness and I had this realization that there are clear synergies between the two subjects.
So, why not explore it further?
What is PIM (Product Information Management), what does the process involve, and what are the benefits? Let’s address these questions from another perspective.
What is mindfulness? How does it relate to the definition of PIM?
By definition, mindfulness is the state of being conscious or aware of something. The idea is to be aware of the current moment and think in a curious and non-judgmental way. In other words, know thyself!
For an organization that working with multiple data sources‑ each of which should be easily accessible, understandable, relevant, and available for various distribution channels – identifying where that data resides, and the state of data quality is the first step to any product management process.
How does one practice mindfulness? How should one think about a PIM process?
Take a deep breath and relax.
Just like taking a deep breath helps put things into perspective, the first step to any PIM process is to draw out a conceptual model to help think about massive amounts of data in the form of entities and it’s relationships.
Let go of your worries.
Letting go of your worries is essentially to remove the unwanted thoughts from our minds. In PIM, this exercise would enable us to separate true product data from other forms of data, such as transaction data, supplier data, customer data, and other information that does not need to be directly dealt with as part of the product enrichment process.
Focus on your breath. Count your breaths.
Focusing and counting breaths is teaching us to take notice of our current state of being. Similarly, in addition to creating a conceptual model and separating out unwanted data, it is advisable to build out the data flow map to show multiple sources of product data, as well as various consumers of cleaned and enriched product information.
If the mind wanders, do not panic or worry. Let the thoughts pass and gently bring the attention back to your breath.
Panic and worry can create stress and hinder clear thinking. When thoughts are jumbled in our minds, it impacts our behavior. Similarly, when data is inconsistent, messy, or the process is chaotic, it creates inefficiencies in managing and sourcing that information. Hence, it is recommended that once the entities and relationships are identified and the current data flow process is mapped out, the next best practice is to identify the inefficiencies in the business process. Spend time in data cleansing and work towards defining a new and improved product data enrichment workflow.
Repeat and feel the sense of calmness within yourself.
Once breathing and thought patterns develop a rhythm, repetition helps us get better at the process, maintain focus, and improve efficiencies. In the world of product data management, the initial task of building a data model and creating a new enrichment process is a key foundational step that helps organizations adopt the new tool and processes to start adhering to it in daily practice. It is recommended that this conceptual model and the enrichment workflow should be periodically reviewed and enhanced to evolve with the organizational needs for continuous improvement (the Kaizen approach).
And there you have it, a new data model and improved product enrichment business process that is scalable!
But why do all this?
What are the benefits of mindfulness? What are the benefits of the PIM process? What is the return on investment?
Improve physical and mental health.
As we discussed above, being mindful and practicing breathing exercises helps improve focus and reduce stress. As a result, mindfulness can improve our physical and mental state of being. Similarly, the exercise of creating the new data model and the refined enrichment process allows us to cleanse the data, maintain it in a central location, and efficiently source it to multiple external systems in different formats (as needed). This helps to bring efficiency to the product maintenance process.
Improve overall wellbeing.
As we work towards developing healthy habits for better physical and mental health, we start to live a more fulfilling life in all aspects. In the data world, the aforementioned steps not only bring efficiency in the product enrichment process but also improves collaboration between multiple teams (media, content writers, transaction data, etc.) and ultimately streamlines business processes.
Make progress towards your goals.
The goal to live a healthy and happy life is no different than building a financially healthy and flourishing organization. It reduces employee burn out by simplifying tedious tasks, allows organizations to achieve faster go-to-market goals, increase revenue, and build stronger partnerships with suppliers and consumers.
So you see, adopting a careful and planned approach to the PIM process and usage is not so different from practicing mindfulness in your personal life. It just means looking at the situation in a different light, and as a result, you can better realize and acknowledge the benefits PIM can bring in your organizational growth. To set up a PIM Mindfulness workshop and learn more about how PIM can streamline and grow your business processes, give us a call today.
But for now, I’ll leave you with this thought:
“Product Information Management is essentially an organization’s Product Information Mindfulness.”