In 2013 the CEO of a products and components manufacturing firm launched a digital transformation program focused on strategic investments in information technology. This initiative included overhauling product lifecycle management platforms for product design, and optimizing manufacturing to enable build-to-order, just-in-time) manufacturing, and short-run capabilities. It also included a redesign of the corporate website on a new platform with improved search, a product information management (PIM) system, and a web content management system.
The organization recognized that in order to achieve a return on investment in search and PIM, it would have to improve product data quality Products were hard to find due to a poorly organized taxonomy. Users complained vociferously about search quality. The CIO stated that they needed to improve their core IT capabilities to generate world-class product data and to maintain and govern the product taxonomy.
Finally, the whole project needed to happen within an eight-month window to enable the beta launch of the new website.
In less than two months, Earley Information Science (EIS) delivered a new product taxonomy that the client’s stakeholders approved through a new governance process. EIS implemented a new attribute schema for 700 product categories, and mapped the legacy product data into the new structure within three months. In addition, EIS created taxonomy facets to help tag products and documents for brand, series, product family, industry standards, industry sectors, and applications. The EIS data team tagged products in the catalog with the appropriate facet values.
EIS socialized the taxonomy, established the governance process, and provided advice on process improvements to achieve higher quality data. Then it helped the company stand up an offshore data production team to perform ongoing data projects. EIS also provided advice about user experience design, and coordinated with the digital agency to assure that product data and taxonomy supported the user experience.
EIS was able to help the customer establish world-class product data and realize the business benefits from improved product findability, a stronger taxonomy, and better governance. The work was completed in time to support the launch of the new website. Across-the-board improvements have been achieved in SEO, site search, navigation, and the user experience of the product catalog. All these improvements resulted directly from the new and improved product taxonomy.
The client’s content was now producing organic search traffic equivalent to $2M in paid search. This result improved customer, employee, and partner satisfaction — all of whom are now able to find the information they need to support purchase decisions. Newly enabled product relationships help showcase related products and create more ‘sell-with’ / up-sell / cross-sell opportunities. The on-boarding process is now simpler and faster, and the number of products in the on-line catalog grew approximately 25% during the course of this project.