Interview with Shashin Shah: Critical Success Factors for Global PIM Rollouts
Hello Shashin, in your role as CEO at Pimcore Global Services (PGS), you for sure are very busy. Thanks for taking the time to do a short interview with us today. To kick it off, could you briefly tell me what PGS is all about?
Firstly, let me take this opportunity to announce that Pimcore Global Services is now a Happiest Minds Company; we’ve been associated with Happiest Minds for a long time, but more on that later. PGS, for me, is no less than a philosophy, a belief, with its underpinnings in innovation-centered digital transformation. And this belief is a collective one, shared by every single person in PGS. In that sense, I can say that we’re truly ‘one team’, a single unit that strives for delivering magic by means of technology; after all, every technological effort is geared towards enhancing human experiences. We have developed highly agile and adaptive solutions in the realms of experience, data, commerce, and cloud.
As you know, PGS is Pimcore’s largest global partner amongst its growing ecosystem. We have significantly contributed to what Pimcore has delivered globally; I won’t get into the numbers, but they are significant. And now that Happiest Minds has acquired us, we’re a team of 3000+ professionals. Our headquarters remain in Houston, TX, USA, while most of our operations continue to be carried out of New Delhi, Bengaluru, and Pune, India.
What are the challenges many global companies are facing when it comes to their product data management?
There are a variety of challenges organizations face globally. From a high level, they’re mostly about: speeding up a product’s time-to-market, enhancing customer experience, bringing automation, improving productivity, and boosting ROI; and all these may often be inter-related.
However, suppose you go one level deeper. In that case, a typical challenge may sound like scattered product data, legacy applications lacking scalability or flexibility, data in silos, lack of data transparency, dependence on repetitive manual tasks and spreadsheets, absence of adequate processes and systems resulting in ineffective internal operations.
Then there are challenges like manual data syndication, lack of digital experiences for suppliers. There are many more. And all these challenges can prevail across geographies. But one thing I can vouch for— no two projects we’ve come across have been similar. Every case is unique, so the solution has to be unique.
What are the main benefits your customers realize when creating a global PIM for their global enterprises?
We’ve rolled out PIM applications for a variety of global enterprises. All our clients had been using some system or the other to manage their data but weren’t fully satisfied. The PIM that we have implemented, which is the Pimcore PIM, has helped them centralize their product data and manage any amount of structured and unstructured product information, including millions of SKUs.
We have improved our customers’ data quality significantly, brought in automation to boost operational efficiency, enabled personalized experiences, offered huge support to marketing and sales leading to improved revenue, accelerated new product launches, and lowered their total cost of ownership as Pimcore PIM is open source. These are, of course, the benefits that come to mind at this moment. As I said before, or let me add to my previous line—every unique solution is accompanied by unique benefits.
Your company has done some very large PIM implementations, in multiple geographies and for big names such as Continental, Wienerberger, Sony, and Oetker Group. What did you and your customers learn from these projects about PIM?
These projects have been very special for us; they’ve been a huge learning experience. For instance, for Sony, we centralized their product data repository, which significantly improved their commercial availability for different output channels, including CNET, DealerSource & SFDC. This was new for us. For Continental, we centralized a PIM for 40 countries and 45 languages; this was a feat in itself; we realized what Pimcore PIM was capable of. It was no less than a revelation.
A similar case was with Dr. Oetker, a brand that’s been on our kitchen shelves for as long as I can remember. We not only centralized a PIM for 40 countries but also centralized the CMS for Dr. Oetker; it just revolutionized their publishing workflows while substantially decreasing their time-to-market. Wienerberger too, was a particular case; PGS not only implemented a PIM for them but integrated complex SAP R3 and PDB data in PrIMa system to ease their user operations. This was again new learning for us. No matter how small or big, every brand we’ve worked for has taught us something new.
What piece of advice would you give a global company that is considering a PIM implementation? Should they go for one central PIM across the whole company? Or should they opt for a dedicated PIM for certain geographies? What is important to consider here?
I would say that executing one central PIM installation for the whole organization is considered more beneficial in the long run. That’s because even though data may not need to be shared across geographies today due to various reasons or constraints and it may be working fine for the organization. However, imagine the possibility of immense learning and adaptability that can unleash in terms of viewing data and advancements in processes when the data is maintained by teams spread across different geographies. It will also ensure that the same standard and practices are followed across the organization for data enrichment, data quality and data management. This will also offer the opportunity to reuse product data and assets such as images, brochures, flyers, and many more. And all at a reduced cost. Besides, a centralized view can be generated for the senior management to compare performance across various geographies. For a start, an organization can select a few geographies, and then one by one, add more to the same platform—seamless roll-outs.
Congratulations on the recent 8.5 million purchase of Pimcore Global Services by Happiest Minds. Which benefits does this merge provide your customers? How will it enable you to do even bigger Pimcore implementations in the future?
Thank you, this acquisition means a lot to us! It will certainly bolster Happiest Minds and Pimcore Global Services’ combined offerings in the digital transformation space in a much broader sense. It will empower us to create even more digital capital for our customers, as our strengths complement each other. The logical consequence of this amalgamation will be the onboarding of more customer logos.
Besides, Happiest Minds and PGS will both strategically offer Pimcore new prospects and existing customers for large implementations in the future. There are many more plans in store that will take this alliance to the next level. For now, we have a laser-sharp focus on the business challenges of our customers with one eye into the future. I would say it is just the beginning.