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How to Integrate Agility PIM and Power BI for Seamless Visualization

The ability to integrate and consolidate business intelligence (BI) from multiple sources is essential for supporting the needs of today’s eCommerce businesses. As such, we’ve designed Agility Product Information Management (PIM) to deliver standard input and output connectors to all of your systems, out of the box.

We’ll show you how our AMI system can easily integrate with other applications. Here’s an example of Power BI visualization and the tools to create it on your Agility system.

Prepare your data

You’ll need to decide what data you’ll be using to prepare as the foundation of your visualization.

The easiest way is to make a database “view” of the data you wish to visualize. A view is a query stored in the database that lets you pull data from many tables. Although it’s stored in the database, it doesn’t affect the underlying structure (schema) of the database and doesn’t affect how Agility runs.

One thing to bear in mind—you’re not restricted to using only Agility data: you can show data from outside Agility inside AMI.

Our example

Our example visualization checks whether certain objects have values for specific attributes: if they have those values, the objects are awarded one, two or three “stars” to show how complete their information is.

We have a tool (view-generator-utility.jar) to create a database view that prepares this information. It’s a simple process of selecting which attributes something must have to earn a one-, two- or three-star rating, which types of objects you want to check and which structure(s) to look in.

Then just run the tool to create the view.

Create your visualization

Here is where you get to shine… your visualization can be as sophisticated or as direct as you need it to be. Power BI supports a huge range of features, including cross-report drill through, data insights and the powerful (and free!) R statistical computing language and environment.

Our example

The example view created by view-generator-utility.jar includes a wide range of data suitable for a completeness report. Below is an example of a very simple visualization using Count 𝚺 CHILDOBJECTID, then 𝚺 RATINGSCORE:

Show it in AMI

Now you have the report, hook it up to AMI via an AMI gadget.

You have two choices here: use either the streamlined BI Reports gadget or the highly customizable Bound Templates gadget.

  • The BI Reports gadget gives a straightforward view of the report, essentially a link to the report’s page.
  • The Bound Template gadget is the “full-fat” integration option for web-based content. With this gadget, you can use the full spectrum of web functionality, including JavaScript.

Our example

The example includes a set of HTML and JavaScript files you can use with the Bound Template gadget. Point the gadget at the HTML “mini page” and AMI will display the visualization along with a custom Refresh button, powered by JavaScript.

Wrap Up

There you go: in three simple steps, we’ve integrated a powerful visualization tool into the heart of your AMI system. You can apply these principles to your own Power BI visualizations, or any of your other web-based applications.

For the complete details to configure our example BI visualization, contact Agility today!

Why Agility® PIM from Agility Multichannel is the Best PIM Software Solution in 2020, According to FinancesOnline

2020 is already shaping up to a big year for Agility Multichannel and it’s a tremendous honor to have just been ranked Number 1 in Product Information Management (PIM) by FinancesOnline, the fastest growing independent review platform for B2B, SaaS, and financial solutions.

According to FinancesOnline: “The best product information management software for 2020 is for Agility® PIM from Agility Multichannel thanks to its comprehensive features including data onboarding, business process tracking, data enrichment, and inventory management. Most of all, it packs all these powerful features into an intuitive dashboard.”

This ranking is a testament to our customer-centric approach to investing in product innovation and most importantly, our people. Our development team has worked tirelessly to ensure that Agility remains the market leading platform that we’ve been renowned for since our inception. With our most recent release of Agility® PIM v8, we’ve set a new standard in PIM and have exceeded customer expectations in delivering innovative new features and providing unmatched user experience.

As described by review analysts: “Agility® PIM is best-of-breed, built ground-up for easy, air-tight integration with multiple systems from many vendors such as Microsoft, Oracle, and IBM. It has fully documented APIs and can be easily configured to meet all business-led requirements.”

To learn more about Agility® PIM and how we’re helping retailers, global brands, industrial manufacturers and distributors take control of their product information journey, let’s have a conversation.

Related Resources

Agility Scores 3 B2B Excellence Awards

Choosing a PIM: What to Watch for

Why PIM is Primed for the Print Revival

As we roll into a new decade, you may be assessing your company’s marketing strategies: “Where can we find an edge?” you ask. May we suggest an “old reliable” that’s time-tested, impactful and, despite rumors of its demise, remains still viable. That medium is print.

According to U.S. Postal Service research, print is thriving, but in a different way than in its past. It’s true that while the volume of direct mail materials has declined 29.85% since 2006, direct mail response rates have actually risen by 173% for house lists and 194% for prospect lists. Personalization is a key driver for this growth, as is the trust factor that print holds over digital channels.

The Case for Print

Here are seven considerations for rethinking print in your marketing mix:

  1. Print offers something different. Today the average person receives 107 emails but just 2 pieces of mail per day. As consumers continue to connect more and more facets of their lives via digital — banking, shopping, making appointments, interacting, etc. — a printed piece in the mailbox becomes a novelty. Think about when you receive a greeting card in the mail or, rarer still, a personal letter. You might smile when you find it. You can open it at your leisure. Since so much of “junk mail” has vanished in favor of email marketing — and so much of that is unwanted spam — an eye-catching printed piece stands out.
  2. Print has a tangible presence. A shopper’s memory of a web page lasts until the next click. Emails are opened immediately and forgotten. A printed flyer or catalog is likely to be retained for 17 days. You can hold it, browse it, mark it up, bring it with you while shopping. The merchant can include a promotional card or small item to make a printed piece more engaging. Many companies take exceptional pride in their printed catalogs as a significant brand statement — a weighty presence on the shelf.
  3. Print allows greater freedom of expression. Web pages and apps are restricted by their wireframes and templates, creating a certain level of monotony for the user. The print is less confined. Using a proper Product Information Management (PIM) system, a designer can flow content and images to a page template, then work “outside the lines” to create dazzling, attention-grabbing visuals. Print allows trendy colors and fonts and special effects like gradients to shine at their best.
  4. Print can be personalized. Personalization goes beyond merely addressing a piece to a specific customer. Today, a business can harness its powerful PIM system combined with advanced analytics to create personalized versions of direct mail pieces in smaller lots. For instance, a national tool retailer can mail tailored editions of its monthly mini-catalog with different offers based on the individual customer’s buying patterns. These pieces build a “just for me” wow factor with customers.
  5. Print gets a response. According to the 2018 DMA Response Rate Report, direct mail achieves a 9% response from house lists and 5% from prospect lists versus 1% or lower for email and social media. DMA data indicates that 79% of consumers act on direct mail immediately versus 45% for email. 
  6. Print and Digital work well together. Digital remains the most common and cost-effective way to interact with customers, but print reaches where digital cannot. A customer can filter email but not the conventional mailbox. Direct mail plus email boosts conversion rates by up to 28%. And direct mail can raise the effectiveness of other channels by up to 450%. Many marketers use their print catalogs to drive customer traffic to their websites and apps.
  7. Consumer Data Security Laws are on the rise. And compliance is a headache for digital marketers. Since Europe’s General Data Protection Regulation (GDPR) took effect in May 2018, consumers’ digital privacy has garnered attention worldwide. A similar California law went live on January 1, 2020. According to the National Conference of State Legislatures, legislatures in 25 US states and Puerto Rico have more than 100 active consumer data privacy bills or drafts on their collective dockets. Some of these state laws are highly restrictive. Together they make up a byzantine puzzle of regulations. As a possible alternative, the US Senate is considering uniform federal legislation; the Federal Trade Commission is watching as it is the national enforcement arm. While governments debate how much protection is appropriate, “think tanks” like the Council on Foreign Relations and the Electronic Frontier Foundation have offered their opinions. Many consumer advocacy groups fear that a federal law will be weaker than state laws, while many trade organizations support the idea of a national standard.

The implications for digital marketers are clear: More laws mean more complex regulations, more documentation of opt-in/out processes, more proof of compliance and tighter restrictions on what/how much/how long customer information can be retained by retailers, distributors and other organizations who reach consumers via the digital space. The laws also cover data brokers, who collect and re-sell consumer information. While direct marketing is subject to certain provisions of these laws, compliance is much easier as consumer consent is not required. Laws such as GDPR figure to take a big bite out of email marketing as companies scramble to comply. In turn, data security laws present an opportunity for these companies to reconsider print as a viable option. Customers trust print because it is virus-proof and bears no inherent risk of identity theft.

A robust and versatile PIM software should serve both digital and print needs. From a single source of content, messages can be personalized and disseminated across multiple channels and at different touchpoints along the customer journey.  So it’s time to rethink print as a valuable option for the personalization era.

Considering if a product information management (PIM) system is right for you? Take our 3-Minute PIM Readiness Assessment to help you determine if your business could benefit from a proper PIM solution. Or simply contact our PIM experts and we’ll help you evaluate your business needs.

Related Resources

The Marketer’s Guide to PIM for the Omnichannel Era

Choosing a PIM: What to Watch for

Key Takeaways from our Magnitude User Group Conferences

We’ve just wrapped up the return of our 2018 user group conferences for our MDM and DIW customers. In June and July, our MDM, DIW and Agility customers, partners, industry leaders and Magnitude teams gathered to learn and share industry-leading insights and best practices in Manchester, UK and Chicago, IL.

Both events were well attended and generated tremendous feedback from attendees. Among the key highlights: Read more

Magento Technology Partnership

We’re delighted to announce that Agility Multichannel is now a Magento technology partner, the ecommerce leader’s first (and only) partner for PIM.

At the beginning of November, Magento Commerce broke away from eBay Inc and launched as an independent company. Two weeks later, the company released Magento 2.0 (“…a foundational milestone that extends Magento’s market share and innovation leadership into the next decade,” said Mark Lavelle, Magento Commerce CEO.) We’re delighted to announce that Agility Multichannel is now a Magento technology partner, the ecommerce leader’s first (and only) partner for PIM. In our commitment to the “3 C’s” (connecting Content with Creative for Commerce), strong partnerships are critical, and clearly the people at Magento Commerce feel the same way, with a new partnership program that is full of energy and dedicated to delivering best-in-class commerce experiences.

To read more about the Magento story and why it may be the “biggest commerce company you haven’t heard of yet,” the New York Business Journal does a good job of laying things out.

 

2015 PIM Value Index

Agility Multichannel improved more since the last report than any other vendor, demonstrating “commitment to its products, customers and partners.”

Ventana Research has just published its 2015 PIM Value Index, and we’re delighted to see that Agility Multichannel improved more since the last report than any other vendor, demonstrating (says author, CEO and chief research officer Mark Smith) “commitment to [our] products, customers and partners.” It’s an essential and important report.

Agility Multichannel Sweden

This week we acquired Axpa, a technology company in Malmö, Sweden. We’ve worked very closely with the Axpa team over many years, so this is in many ways a natural evolution for us, but it’s also a very exciting opportunity. We now have a direct company presence in Scandinavia to further enhance our ability to support customers and build a partner network in the region.

We’re excited to announce that in order to provide more great products and services to customers, this week we acquired Axpa, a technology company in Malmö, Sweden. We’ve worked very closely with the Axpa team over many years, so this is in many ways a natural evolution for us, but it’s also a very exciting opportunity. We now have a direct company presence in Scandinavia to further enhance our ability to support customers and build a partner network in the region. We’re bringing into the fold a valuable, highly experienced Axpa team who we know will be a great addition to the Agility Multichannel global customer and partner support team. The acquired technology now under the Agility Multichannel umbrella includes an integration tool for linking Product Information Management (PIM) to ERP and merchandising planning systems; a campaign planning tool for use by marketing and creative teams; enhanced tools for integration with and automation of multi-site and global digital assets workflows, and enhanced publishing workflow, including automation, versioning and review. The new entity will be called Agility Multichannel Sweden and will be located in new offices in Malmö. Lots of exciting things to talk about in the days ahead. Hope you’ll check back soon.  Tack!

Global Retail Expansion

Here’s an article titled Twelve Barriers to 2015 Retail Global Expansion, and Hacks for Breaking them Down that’s full of valuable insights, including 2 cents from our CEO Richard Hunt:

The key is to design a single, flexible, scalable global process that makes it easy not just to add channels and touch points but to move into new markets and countries when opportunities arise.  An enterprise Product Information Management (PIM) system can provide tools for product on-boarding, governance, workflows, enrichment and translation, approval and syndication that let end-users in any country and any department seamlessly localize and market their specific products – all within a single, endlessly scalable, global solution.

Richard Hunt in Apparel magazine

 

Employee Engagement: Numero Uno in any language

We’re closing in on completing new French and German translations of our corporate website. This is why we’re in a position today to share,  in not one but three languages, an essential principle that has propelled every development initiative of the past three years. It was the driving force behind our user-friendly Agility Modular Interface (AMI) and it helped make us #1 in Customer Satisfaction in a recent report on the MDM Landscape:

At Agility Multichannel, we believe that your team’s engagement begets your customer’s engagement.

Chez Agility Multichannel, nous pensons que l’investissement de votre équipe influence la mobilisation de votre client.

Wir von Agility Multichannel sind davon überzeugt, dass das Engagement Ihres Teams sich in der Begeisterung Ihrer Kunden widerspiegelt.

Adobe's Loni StarkYesterday, Loni Stark, director, product & industry marketing at Adobe, who oversees global product positioning, and go-to-market strategy and operations for Adobe’s web experience management business, published a blog post on employee engagement that we think everyone who’s interested in customer engagement should read. “Provide your employees with the training, information, and inspiration to become committed brand advocates, and customer experiences will improve along with business outcomes,” says Loni.  She’s backed it up with a lot of strong research, and you can read it here:  http://adobe.ly/1ocAC9Q

Spring finery

It was a long, rough winter in both of our home cities, which meant lots of time for indoor projects, like rebuilding our website from top to bottom. The last of the daffodils are blooming in York and the last of the snow has just melted in Chicago. It seems safe finally to open the windows, declare that it’s spring, and invite you to visit agilitymultichannel to see our all-new look and content, with lots of close-up views of Agility and a growing resource library. Everything is free-access – no forms at all. The new design and content will be rolling out to our German and French sites soon, and then we’ll be back to blogging regularly.