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My reflections on the Forrester Wave™

Forrester Wave™: Product Information Management report, Q4 2023

In his latest blog post, inriver CEO Niels Stenfeldt looks at why inriver is recognized by Forrester for vision and innovation to build a sustainable future, powered by product information. 

As the CEO of inriver, I have a vision of how product information can transform the world for the better. I believe that product information is not just a facilitator for companies to sell more products, but also a value driver for customers, society, and the planet. 

The Forrester Wave™: Product Information Management report, Q4 2023 recognizes inriver as a “Strong Performer” with the highest scores possible in vision and innovation, specifically citing the strength of our purpose-driven vision. For me, these observations about inriver further prove that we are true pioneers in recognizing the connection between product data, circularity, and sustainability.  

Here, I want to share my key reflections from this important report and how each relates to the path we are on at inriver:  

1. The evolution of product information management  

Forrester notes that “Modern PIM drives top-line growth by managing product experiences.” One of our reference customers spoke comprehensively about the inriver’s impacts, saying “inriver helped us not only grow top-line revenue but also reduce customer attrition.” 

PIM was not always the modern revenue driver it is today. Early PIMs started as a “moment in time” databases or systems of record. They were simpler parts of an enterprise technology stack and were less mission-critical.  Now, however, as Forrester emphasizes, PIM is “a core capability for any enterprise that sells products in market.” inriver’s PIM solution has evolved in stride, serving as a dynamic feedback loop that can inform circular decisions and drive transparency across the entire product journey, from product sourcing and creation to the end consumer and beyond.  

As Forrester says, PIM is now the enterprise core “powering teams by matching data attributes and classifications; organizing multimillion SKUs with thousands of attributes using industry templates, taxonomies, and data pools; and syndicating the information to thousands of volatile channel endpoints.” Future-fit PIM, like inriver, can automate and optimize the processes of creating, tagging, classifying, and translating product information. Modern PIM solutions integrate and harmonize data from different sources, such as product lifecycle management (PLM), and deliver it in context for each channel and consumer. The inriver PIM solution can also analyze digital shelf performance to make data-driven decisions on pricing and promotions, which powers the new era of PIM as a dynamic and ever-learning closed-loop system. 

wave in ocean at dusk

2. The role of product data governance for transparency and regulatory compliance

Forrester states that PIM customers should look for providers that “prepare for a more circular economy and digital product records,” noting that “requirements of enterprises bringing products to market could change due to the proposed EU Digital Product Passport (DPP) regulation.” It is both personally reassuring and professionally affirming to see leading analyst groups like Forrester and Gartner highlight the role of PIM in driving a more circular economy. 

Building a future-fit PIM that will help brands meet the data requirements for regulatory evolutions like DPP and others has been a north star for my tenure at inriver. We are committed to building technology and developing thought leadership to support all organizations in preparing for DPP and compliance demands. Most notably, the amount of data that PIM systems need to handle is going to increase exponentially.  

Having an elastic data model that provides flexibility in product attribute changes is now table stakes, as is using a PIM system that can process and manage millions upon millions of data points and product attributes. These requirements are what inriver was built for. Long before the sustainability use case arose, inriver has been focused on and investing in the flexibility and extensibility needed to support complex product attributes and relationships. In parallel, we built product-information-centric large language models, which can generate natural and persuasive product descriptions and translations, while also incorporating sustainability and transparency attributes. The inriver team will continue to develop and innovate alongside the evolving needs of enterprise brands and manufacturers. 

3. Validating accuracy and quantifying impact with digital shelf analytics (DSA) 

Forrester highlighted the value of digital shelf analytics in “analyzing competitive market intelligence to make decisions on pricing and promotions” to drive more sales.” In specific reference to the inriver DSA offering, Forrester said, “inriver’s multipronged DSA approach brings visibility to compliance, ratings, and reviews in an effort to convert more customers by using competitive intelligence on merchandising, pricing, and promotions. As a bonus, DSA can help ensure products meet sustainability compliance requirements (e.g., Proposition 65).” 

Validating the accuracy of product data across thousands of endpoints had been a missing piece of the PIM puzzle for many years. At inriver, we have invested heavily in developing our Digital Shelf Analytics (DSA) capability, which provides insights into how products are performing on the digital shelf, compared to competitors and industry benchmarks. DSA helps companies optimize their product information for conversions, compliance, and customer satisfaction.  

DSA can also provide valuable insight into the impact of providing more product information transparency to consumers. By comparing digital shelf performance where customers have access to information such as their product, ingredients, materials, certifications, and ratings, brands can begin to quantify the value and lift of their sustainability efforts. 

wave near coastline

Closing thoughts 

Reflecting on some of the areas of emphasis in the latest Forrester Wave™: Product Information Management report, Q4 2023 report, I am more confident than ever in inriver’s direction. Inriver is more than just a PIM solution: it is a platform that powers a circular product journey, where products are designed, produced, consumed, and recycled in a way that minimizes environmental impact and maximizes social good. 

I believe that product information is not just a commodity, but a currency. It is not just a function, but a mission. I invite you to join me in this mission and make a difference with your product information. Together, we can create a better world for ourselves and future generations. 

Want to read the full report? Access the latest Forrester Wave.

want to see the inriver PIM in action?

Schedule a personalized, guided demo with an inriver expert today to see how the inriver PIM can get more value from your product information.

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