Digital transformation and market changes have propelled businesses into an exciting era. 

Whether expanding product lines, exploring emerging markets, or entering new geographies — many companies like yours are eyeing expansion opportunities.

Then — almost as soon as you start — you realize a lack of centralized data may torpedo your plans. When you consider how fast your competition is moving, this is an incredibly frustrating place to be.

That’s why we’ve teamed up with Winshuttle to kick-off off this new series on How to Expand in 2021. We’ll look at what may hold your company back, the risks to consider, and how a strong foundation of master data management (MDM) can help you achieve your goals. 


What’s Holding Back Your Expansion Plans?

Anytime you want to expand, it’s useful to anticipate the challenges you could face. And if your data management system is lacking, it will be one of your biggest obstacles. 

Why does poorly managed data hinder your growth? Expanding into new products, markets, or geographies requires coordination and collaboration. When your data is locked in silos, that’s nearly impossible to achieve. 

However, for many B2B companies like manufacturers (especially those that have grown through acquisition), that’s exactly where their data lies. Data that needs to be openly shared and easily accessible — by stakeholders across different departments and locations — is trapped in spreadsheets, ERPs, CRMs, and other locations, slowing down collaboration.

Along with slowing collaboration, disconnected and disparate information creates a data quality problem. Without a centralized system to manage your data, it becomes inconsistent, redundant, incorrect, and incomplete over time. 

This poor data quality causes risks to your expansion plans, including:

Losing out to the competition:

To expand, you’ll need a single source of data truth accessible to all stakeholders. Without that accessibility, each step in your growth process — from designing new products, syndicating data to new channels, and adding new locations to your distribution network — takes too long to complete. And when speed is the key to gaining the first-mover advantage, sluggishness can hurt your expansion before it’s off the ground. 

Wasted internal resources:

When your data processes are disorganized, every new expansion seemingly requires a new go-to-market strategy. And creating strategies from scratch is no quick undertaking. You end up pulling your staff into duplicated efforts, instead of dedicating their time to strategizing and executing your high-value plans.


Crippling costs:

It’s not just about speed (or lack thereof). When engrained in your expansion efforts, bad data can be extra costly. Some consequences of poor data quality include:

  • Launching without ensuring proper compliance, risking fines and penalties
  • Lost revenue from shipping and operational errors or miscalculations 
  • Poor sales conversions from confusing or incomplete product descriptions or pricing
  • High return costs associated with unsatisfied customers
  • Ultimately, damage your brand image and loyalty

This list just scratches the surface. Poor data can affect almost every area of your business, and the problems are always exacerbated during an expansion.

But with strong data management processes — leveraging the capabilities of an MDM platform — you’ll gain the agility you need to expand efficiently and effectively.


How to Expand the Right Way

Whether you have plans to expand now or in the future — start with MDM. Having a single source of data truth means that:

  • Your product, sales, and business teams can make expansion decisions based on accurate, up-to-date information.  
  • When a stakeholder needs information, they know exactly where to find it and can collaborate (internally and externally) with ease.
  • You can leverage greater transparency and speed in the supply chain.
  • Automated processes help your internal teams and PLM stakeholders work efficiently.
  • You have the tools you need to create compelling content, like romance copy and digital assets, to meet the needs of today’s buyers.
  • When you’re ready, you can quickly syndicate consistent data across every targeted channel.

If an extensive MDM implementation sounds overwhelming, don’t fret. We work with clients to develop an MVP (or minimal viable product) that helps you get off the ground fast with a solution that can scale. We’ll dive more into that concept as we continue our blog series.

Also, know that technology alone is not enough. To meet the data requirements that enable expansion, your data needs to be professionally managed, governed and provided as a shared service to your organization. 

By establishing a data management foundation before you grow (through technology and business processes), you make it easier to perform all the actions necessary to carry out your expansion. That includes systems and best practices around data strategy, data governance, integration, hosting, and beyond.  In the upcoming articles in this series, we’ll dig into how to tackle these challenges for each growth approach— products, markets, and geographies. 


Why Pivotree & Winshuttle EnterWorks?

If you’re looking into expansion opportunities, Pivotree and Winshuttle are here to help you grow with confidence. When you leverage our combined efforts, you can capitalize on 20+ years of PIM and Multi-Domain MDM knowledge, including hosting, implementation, and machine learning best practices, with over 30 joint manufacturing customers leveraging the Winshuttle EnterWorks platform.

We’re just getting this business expansion series rolling, so stay tuned for more insights, including the next three posts from expert authors at Pivotree and Winshuttle.