Manufacturers Need Siloed Test Environments

As a manufacturer, your PIM (Product Information Management) software helps optimize your product data and automate time-consuming steps when getting new products to market. However, product updates and changes within your PIM can lead to quality issues and disrupt company workflows.

A dedicated test environment provides the opportunity to check product information quality without interfering with workflows or customer experience. As a result, you can streamline your product information process, reduce errors, and improve efficiency to drive business growth. Here, we look at the siloed test environment and how it helps you reap the full benefits of your PIM.

1. Avoiding data corruption

A siloed test environment enables manufacturers to test changes to their PIM data without affecting the live environment. This helps avoid the risk of data corruption or loss when testing changes in a live setting. Traditionally, this is how software companies iron out the bugs, using feedback from hands-on users to make more effective improvements.

To avoid corrupting your live data, your teams work in a safe area without disrupting day-to-day workflows or customer experience. You isolate updates, consider their pros and cons, and then make final updates before moving them to your live channels. As a result, you avoid data corruption that impacts process efficiency, and your customers enjoy a better experience.

2. Improved testing efficiency

A dedicated test environment enables your team to safely test changes and new features without interfering with other workers using the PIM. Whether it is marketers working on social media posts, product developers accessing the most recent product images, or the overall company’s needs for managing massive amounts of data, you minimize the impact on other departments and improve efficiency. In addition, you save time and money by ensuring you don’t confuse multiple versions of product information stored in the PIM. This prevents undesirable outcomes when the wrong sources are accessed and reduce time-consuming errors.

Isolating the most up-to-date information until it is approved and ready to go offers many efficiency benefits, including:

  • Your product information remains reliable
  • You improve testing efficiency
  • You reduce downtime
  • You minimize errors

3. Faster time-to-market

Using a siloed test environment, you can test new product information and updates faster.  As a result, your product launches get to market more quickly, giving you a competitive edge. The sooner you reach the market, the more market share you can grab. You can also optimize your sales process to boot.

Using standardized testing best practices, you separate your testing from live activities, and everything is tested in one place. This makes it easier to migrate content from spread/spec sheets to your test environment in real time without disrupting the process. In addition, you can ensure everything is up to snuff before moving it to your live environment, ready to sell across all channels or new marketplaces.

4. Enhanced collaboration

Although the word silo conjures up visions of collaboration issues, in the case of a siloed test environment, it actually improves collaboration. You can ensure everyone understands the needs of all departments before anything is moved to a live environment. Each stakeholder has input on the product information and descriptions, whether it is product development, marketing, legal, or any other decision-makers. Team members can work on changes simultaneously without interrupting each other’s work, so the overall process is faster.

You also improve accountability and transparency between all departments by tracking, organizing, and reporting test results in real time. An isolated test environment can also improve agility, enabling on-the-spot adaptations to meet the changing market. Departments can respond quickly and help lead change without worrying about quality issues. As a result, you can maintain your competitive advantage. Real-time test results also empower department heads to make quick, well-informed decisions.

5. Risk mitigation

Your dedicated test environment enables you to test new features and changes to your PIM system without putting the stability of your live environment at risk. As a result, you can help mitigate risks associated with new product launches or major updates that haven’t been put through the paces. Before being added to your PIM or, worse, uploaded from your PIM to customer-facing live environments, all risks are identified.

Better yet, you can identify opportunities found during your testing to improve product information throughout the entire product lifecycle. Your team can make informed decisions through collaboration to mitigate risks based on the defects found and reported across each business department. Your product releases, marketing strategy, and omnichannel programs become more effective through deep dive testing not possible in a live setting.

A siloed test environment for your PIM improves testing safety, efficiency, and collaboration mitigating risk and streamlining the entire product information management process.