Clearing the Air on Product Data Management
Questions From Your Industry Peers
By Jon Wyly
Back in July, the SEMA Data Co-op (SDC) team had the opportunity to meet with the SEMA council leadership at its annual Council Summit in Pomona. The team was invited to join the meeting to talk about the SDC and get feedback from this diverse gathering.
Back in July, my team and I had the opportunity to meet with the SEMA council leadership at its annual Council Summit in Pomona. We were invited to join the meeting to talk about the SEMA Data Co-op (SDC) and get feedback from this diverse gathering. What was particularly fascinating was that this group—made up of smart folks who do a great job of running their businesses—had widely varying understandings (and thus opinions) about product data management. After an hour of very productive discussion, the entire room merged onto the same page, and we came away with a group that was better able to relate product data management to their individual businesses while helping us at the SDC to realize that a lot of hand-to-hand education still needs to happen.
To give you a taste of that experience, SEMA News will be publishing some of the questions that came up in the meeting from this group of your peers over the next few issues. I hope that the answers help you better understand the SDC and why effective product data management is so critical to business growth today.
Question: Why is product data so important when I am shipping more paper catalogs than ever?
Answer: This valid question came from someone in the hot-rod/restoration market. The answer is simply that, even though you may be experiencing growth today, you are missing out on reaching customers who rely on the Internet for their research. Studies show that more than 60% of specialty parts buyers research on the Internet before making a decision on what to purchase. Without quality product data that powers not only e-Commerce sites but also helps you to appear in search engines, blogs, forums and more, you are invisible to this rapidly growing segment of consumers.
Question: Who does the data work if I join the SDC?
Answer: The SDC is designed to be a “do-it-yourself with lots of help” model, meaning that our Help Desk staff will provide hands-on guidance and assistance in getting your data loaded (or “on-boarded”), but our goal is to have the supplier own the process of managing its data in our system using our online tools. Help Desk assistance is available whenever needed, but the actual work of gathering the data and putting it into the system using our tools is the supplier’s responsibility. In cases where a supplier simply does not have the resources to complete the on-boarding, the SDC has do-it-for-me services available at a modest charge to get the initial data set gathered, validated and loaded into the system.
Question: Who owns the data once it is in the SDC system?
Answer: In all cases, the supplier of the data is 100% the data owner, and each supplier has complete control over who can receive its data feeds. The SDC does not claim ownership of any data, and we do not restrict availability in any way except under the instruction of the data owner. We are even happy to provide data feeds back to the supplier for its own use.
More in the December issue of SEMA News....
To learn more about how you can take control of your product data and manage it at the lowest possible cost, contact SDC Director of Membership Jim Graven at firstname.lastname@example.org or 888-958-6698 x4.