Product Data Management- How Companies Use Data in the Real World

Product data management (PDM) systems provide capabilities that allow project managers, engineers, and quality assurance teams to access accurate data in real time and share information with one another.

Having critical data about products on hand will lead to the optimization of business operations, better visibility for informed decision-making, and improved customer satisfaction.

What is Product Data Management (PDM)?

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Product data management refers to the use of software to manage and monitor data related to a product or website. The systems will typically collect and organize information about assembly parts, computer-aided designs (CAD), and models. It can also store instructions on manufacturing, process requirements, and supporting documents.

This information is compiled into a central system but can be accessed with multiple applications or devices; therefore, enabling businesses to share data across all organizations within the supply chain. This ensures that all networks can seamlessly collaborate and be informed about the product, as well as any adjustments made to processes.

Implementing a productive PDM solution can serve as a stable foundation for a business's product lifecycle management (PLM), which is the process of overseeing goods from when it is designed to when it is distributed to consumers. With accurate product data on hand, companies can make appropriate adjustments to optimize workflow and product development.

4 Ways Product Managers Use Data

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A product manager is typically a liaison between management, design, and tech teams. Their responsibilities entail leading these teams to product success and setting key performance indicators (KPIs).

To be productive and efficient, product managers must use metrics to monitor daily operations. They will also commonly use data for-

1. A/B Testing

Also referred to as split testing, A/B testing is a method of comparing two or more variants of a product and identifying which version performs optimally. Product managers will often use this process to research and collect data about an item's feature and its effectiveness.

To properly conduct A/B testing and ensure that data is accurately monitored, it is important to identify key research questions, as well as what metrics need to be collected and how the data will be utilized.

For example, if a retail company is testing two different website layouts, a question they may want to answer is - which version is easier for online shoppers to navigate? They can then gather data on how long people stay on each website and how often sales are made online. These metrics can be used to identify which features of each layout helped keep users on the retail site.

2. Key Performance Indicators and Objectives

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Companies need to set objectives and key results (OKRs) and KPIs to observe their product's performance. OKRs are methods of defining measurable goals, while KPIs are values that indicate a business's progress in meeting these objectives.

Product managers must establish goals that align with the company's overall business plan. For instance, if a company wants to boost its profitability, its OKR can be to expand its product's consumer base by 25%. They can then measure their weekly KPIs regarding sales to see if they need to quickly implement new marketing strategies to meet their goal.

3. Stakeholder Communication

Stakeholder communication is the exchange of information between a company and all of its stakeholders, such as investors, customers, and employees.

Providing these organizations and individuals with accurate data is key to demonstrating a business's performance and objectives. Data also serves as unbiased facts about business activities and can be used to support critical decisions.

4. Usage Tracking

Data makes tracking usage easier and more accessible for product managers. For example, they can look into their website metrics to find out which software features their users prefer or how many people bought the new edition of their products.

Usage tracking is important because companies can identify what their customers like and make necessary adjustments to their website or products.

How Leading Tech Companies Utilize Data

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Many of today's tech companies have been leveraging their use of product data to ensure customer satisfaction and boost profitability.

  • Netflix
Netflix, a notable streaming service, compiles data from millions of its users to create a personalized customer experience. This is evident in Netflix's ability to recommend similar shows to a user after they have watched a series or movie.

One way the platform is able to identify a user's content preference is by overseeing its product data management to monitor what kinds of thumbnails a viewer tends to click on. For example, if data shows that the user is drawn to clicking thumbnails that feature cartoon animals, Netflix will change the cover art for related shows with animal illustrations and cartoons.

  • Airbnb
Airbnb is a lodging platform that lets people rent out homes and apartments to guests seeking temporary housing. The company is known for experimenting with its website and design to understand its users' experiences.

For instance, they curated their own A/B testing method to improve their product functions, such as payment processing and button labels.

  • Apple
Apple, a tech industry leader, manages a great amount of user data. Most recently, the company has been compiling information through its Apple Watch to provide users with their health information. Using sensors, the watch can identify sleep patterns and calorie intake so that users can have a better insight into their personal well being.

  • Facebook
Facebook's advertising platform is known for personalizing ad experiences by monitoring what users like and what websites they tend to frequent. This ensures that Facebook users encounter promotions for products and services they would want, boosting the likelihood that they click on an ad. By optimizing its site with product data in this way, Facebook and its advertisers have gained more revenue.

Implementing product data management systems is key to a business's success because it provides valuable insights that management can use to develop advanced product improvements and boost the company's overall performance.