Article | By Guy Brown

Freestyle partners: powering product management

 

Freestyle product director Guy Brown offers some unique insight on managing reams of company data from one central source, with a little help from Freestyle Partners.  

One of the biggest challenges for any product-driven company embarking on the redevelopment and redesign of its global website is the task of representing its products effectively online.

 

The ideal of having a single global source 
of product data shared across each individual market and/or country site isn’t always achievable. Data is usually stored within multiple ERP and PIM systems across different markets and countries.

 

 

 


The challenge is not necessarily unifying
 these into one consolidated system, as this 
can be extremely expensive and in some cases unattainable. The challenge is how to use all of the relevant data in these separate systems to create a unified source of product information that can then be used to power your website’s product pages.

 

In our experience, the most efficient solution to this challenge is a central data store that contains all images, metadata and product descriptions in a workable, easy-to-understand and easy-to-edit format. The ideal system must also have 
a comprehensive 
API, allowing 
multiple data
 streams from
 multiple systems
 to be gathered into a single location. 

Enter Freestyle Partners Digital Asset Management

Freestyle Partners is a powerful, agile and scalable Digital Asset Management (DAM) system, created to help businesses manage, control and distribute all forms of digital assets from videos, press shots and imagery through to training guides, brand guidelines and operations-related documentation.

A key feature is Partners’ comprehensive and powerful API that can be used to create, update, manage and synchronise data across different systems. This API also supports full event streaming so will listen for changes and updates as they occur in real time, allowing the software to gather and consolidate data that is being pushed into Partners, either directly or from other sources.

Discover more key features of Freestyle Partners

When you combine the above with a data storage system capable of holding digital assets, images, copy, videos and supporting collateral, Freestyle Partners becomes a very powerful product management system.

This connection between legacy systems and 
the Partners asset store was instrumental in the success of Bostik’s global website roll out. Bostik had many sources of product data, with over 100,000 product variants worldwide which had become quite laborious to manage and maintain.

Partnering up with a .net CMS

Using Partners as a central source of data, we were able to easily use its API to create a plugin within Episerver, Bostik’s chosen .net content management system (CMS).

Episerver’s ability to connect with external systems ensured a seamless integration of the .net CMS with Partners and its plugins. Partners’ data and media connectors allowed Bostik’s stored content to be pulled dynamically into Episerver, where the company’s different teams around the world could browse their digital assets, adding pages and blocks as if they were native content. These connector tools kept Bostik’s content synchronised while also managing updates and deletions automatically.

Now, every time a product is published or changed within Bostik’s back-end systems, a product page is automatically created, updated and published onto the global and country websites without any manual intervention.

 

Helping to improve business efficiency

There are a number of benefits to the approach detailed above.

Control over assets

With product data stored and managed in a single back-end system, product ranges can be prioritised, worked on in the background and then published as and when required. Products can also be very easily removed or amended, mitigating the associated risk of incorrect or out of date product data being displayed on a website.

Time

Legacy systems take time to learn, 
and complex global businesses often have a large number of them serving various different purposes. By integrating these into a single platform, and having that platform push data into the website automatically, businesses save themselves significant time and effort as a large amount of the process is automated.

Consistency

Brand and product consistency is key. Partners ensures product imagery is all in a single format, mandatory data files can be set to ensure complete, comprehensive product listings, and all of this is displayed in predefined, customer-friendly page templates.

Also, by utilising bulk edit tools in the Partners system, any changes to the business’ brand guidelines can be quickly and easily implemented into the product listings.

Cost

The reduction of overall expenditure is often the biggest benefit when implementing DAM systems and processes.

Need an image resized, converted from .jpg to .png and then sent to the web team for upload? No problem. This is all handled in the system with no design or agency time required.

Want to avoid litigation when using licensed photography and images? Thanks to the system’s usage rights functionality, staff won’t have access to any image outside pre-determined release dates.

Hidden costs are also reduced, staff in larger teams could spend a few hours a week searching for assets. A single system, with comprehensive search taxonomy and metadata restores this lost time very quickly.

If you’re curious as to whether Freestyle Partners could help you with your next digital marketing campaign or improve the efficiency of your web estate, get in touch.

Work with us.

Guy
Brown

Technical Director

Guy's been at Freestyle for over 12 years. When it comes to technology - he's the person we turn to. Whether it's a web build, integration or Freestyle Partners Digital Asset Management, speak to Guy about your next project.

guy.brown@freestyle.agency

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