Business Technology

A Picture Is Worth…

Jon WylyYou’re probably thinking, yeah, I know…a thousand words, right? Well, that certainly still holds true, but a picture is also worth hundreds, thousands, even tens of thousands of sales in today’s marketplace.

In case you haven’t noticed, today’s consumers are now demanding what could almost be called a sensory overload of visual information as they make decisions about where to spend their money. It’s all about quick, informative features and benefits, easy-to-consume product details, and pictures, pictures, pictures. And don’t forget videos! Videos showing installation, product features and function, performance and more are rapidly becoming the norm and are very influential in consumer decision-making. Add to this list things such as PDFs of installation instructions, schematics, warranty information and more to round out this new standard of excellence in presenting your products. No longer do you need to have just an image library; it’s all about managing all this stuff we now call “digital assets.”

Owning Your Data Is Owning Your Future

Jon WylyOwning Your Data Is Owning Your Future

British computer scientist Tim Berners-Lee is credited with inventing the World Wide Web in 1989 when he implemented the first successful communication between a Hypertext Transfer Protocol client and a server via the Internet. He had this to say about data ownership: “Customers need to be given control of their own data—not being tied into a certain manufacturer so that when there are problems they are always obliged to go back to them.”

With that in mind, I selected the words in the title of this article very carefully. “Owning Your Data Is Owning Your Future.” Seems simple enough, and certainly makes sense. But think about the reciprocal meaning of that statement. If someone else owns your data, someone else owns your future. Yep, that’s a scary thought.

Do-It-Yourself Product Data Management?

It’s Easier Than You Think!

Jon WylyNot too long ago, it took an expert in HTML to enable you to launch a website for your business. It was all very mysterious and was often communicated in a “trust us, you wouldn’t understand” manner. Today, there are numerous ready-to-go platform solutions that have made what was once an expensive and expertise-intensive process into a do-it-yourself reality. In fact, many business owners today are finding that understanding their business technology and managing the details internally is not only relatively easy to do, but also brings a whole new level of control into the business that most often produces better results while saving money.

Taking Your Product Data to the Next Level—With Sales to Match!

Jon WylyIt happens to all of us: You just can’t pull the trigger on a purchase simply because there isn’t enough information to make you comfortable with the decision. It might be on the Internet, where you’re staring at a page with vague content and poor pictures, or it could be in a brick-and-mortar store, where you’re dealing with a salesperson who just doesn’t know his or her stuff. Other times, it all seems to fall together. The salesperson is informative and knowledgeable, or the Internet presentation is complete and confidence inspiring, resulting in a quick, satisfying purchase.

Obviously, research plays a critical role in this decision-making and sales cycle. Like many of you, when I’m ready to spend some hard-earned money, I dive into research mode. What are other people saying about this product? How much information is available? Can I be confident that it will meet my needs?

The SEMA Data Co-op Is Up and Running… Now What?

Well, now the real fun begins! The SEMA Data Co-op’s (SDC) state-of-the-art data-management system has been up and running for a couple of months. The usual bugs have been shaken out, and we are actively receiving and distributing quality product data from nearly 200 suppliers to a horde of anxious receivers. Sure, we’re still adding new functionality and fine tuning things such as the user interface, documentation and reporting features, but it’s smooth sailing overall.

Does Our Industry Have Five Years Left?

A Few Words With John Waraniak

John Waraniak, SEMA’s vice president of vehicle technology, has tinkered with machines and building fast toys since he was a kid growing up in Detroit. Waraniak is equally at home in an aerospace skunkworks in Pico Rivera, California, a boardroom in Mumbai, India, on a motocross track in Buchanan, Michigan, or on the Vehicle Technology Center stage at the SEMA Show in Las Vegas. His love for racing, performance and systems engineering have led him to master’s degrees at the University of Illinois and Caltech as well as executive careers in the stealth aircraft, automotive racing and action sports industries. He was eventually recruited as SEMA’s “chief engineer” in May 2006.

It’s Alive!

Check Out the SEMA Data Co-op for the First Time…Again!

Imagine a world where you could manage all of your product data in one place, at one time, with the latest state-of-the-art tools. Imagine never again having to use valuable internal resources to create multiple product data files for your customers. Imagine providing better product data delivery than you ever have before, with less effort, lower cost and in the exact format each of your customers require. Imagine the data for your new-product launches being available in near real time, with virtually no delays in delivery to the marketplace. That, my friends, is what the SEMA Data Co-op (SDC) is all about.

The Product Data (R)evolution

I often like to refer to the development cycle of the Internet in terms of “dog years.” That is, for every year that traditional business processes mature, it feels like the Internet has advanced seven. For the uninitiated, it’s a crazy, unpredictable ride that seems to push forward at a rate fast enough to make us feel like we’ll never catch up, no matter how attentive we are.

Have You Ever Had the “Parking Lot” Experience?

Many of us who drive an accessorized vehicle have experienced an encounter like this in a parking lot at one time or another. We’re accustomed to the eyes following us as we drive in, but this time someone approaches for a closer look, and starts asking questions. “Hi, there! Cool truck. What’s that cover you have on the bed?” And the conversation ensues. Before you know it, you may be describing various accessories, their function and even how much they might cost or where to get them.

Ready for Launch

Now It’s All About the Data SALES

It’s been quite a journey. Some 10 years ago, the simple but now prophetic words of good friend and visionary Jerry McCabe launched a tenacious group of volunteers in pursuit of an industry solution for product data creation, storage and distribution: “It’s all about the data.” Now, after years of planning, adjusting and adapting—and a nine-month “test drive” in the beta phase—the SEMA Data Co-op (SDC) is readying for launch of the live production system in January.

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