We’re now at the end of our five-part blog series on digital product creation, expanding on our Digital Maturity research where we break down the key technologies that enable DPC to exist and thrive in the modern marketplace. As we wind down this blog series, we are excited to see where DPC adoption and implementation will take us in the future, and are looking forward to joining some of our readers on that integration journey.
For this blog, we sat down with several Kalypso subject matter experts to better understand what technologies are available and how companies should prioritize their adoption and augmentation. In this blog, we’ll be focusing on:
Organizations should also be aware there are DPC staples, like 3D authoring tools, and emerging technology, like AI-generated imagery, that we won’t go into detail about today. However, if companies aren’t investing enough resources in understanding these technologies, they are already behind. A dedicated team is vital for organizations to keep on top of the latest advancements.
DPC Capabilities and Benefits
Picture this: Your organization is looking to implement DPC capabilities, but you’re not really sure what that looks like. Manager Brendon Marczan recalls two client experiences with different levels of integration to give you an idea.
Minor Integration: One company created a simple call to a material library, so that designers could see all available materials in their 3D app while creating a new product.
Major Integration: Another company pulled costing information from a PLM BOM, supply chain cost drivers from an SQL database and part information from a 3D application into a supply chain web app to provide dynamic costing.
Ultimately, implementing DPC capabilities is about automating the relationship between software applications, so that companies can:
Increase their data consistency/ accuracy by pointing to or pulling from a single source-of-truth
Increase the speed in which a process step is completed
Create a repeatable process that can be quality controlled, improving the time needed to onboard new team members
Reduce the costs of running full software applications by creating discrete, digital workflows and software to run ‘behind-the-scenes', on virtual and networked machines, at reduced license costs.
Reduce costs of manual labor
Foundational Technologies – What's Needed to Get Started
To maximize the power of digital product creation (DPC) companies must first have foundational technologies in place. These technologies, such as product lifecycle management (PLM), enterprise resource planning (ERP) and digital asset management (DAM) systems, are already familiar staples among industry leaders. However, a business must go beyond simply having these systems in place if they want to fully leverage their potential and that of DPC.
Manager Ellery Connell explains that companies must interconnect their various foundational technologies to fully explore the potential of DPC. “In the old paradigm with an Adobe Illustrator and Adobe Photoshop style workflow, there wasn’t as much need for interdependency,” says Connell, “but once you start getting into 3D and more in-depth DPC work, the different components of your product need to talk to one another.”
Marczan elaborates on this concept by using digital asset management as an example of technologies working synergistically to develop DPC.
“You can have a Dropbox or Nuxio, and use it without ever integrating it into other technologies, but once you do, you can sync your files immediately, creating workflow automations around it. The increased flow of data creates efficiencies, reduces errors and improves data consistency. Ultimately, it can save a company millions of dollars.”
Technology Integration – The Challenges Ahead
As anyone who has participated in a system integration knows, automating the relationships between software applications is an ambitious undertaking, requiring careful planning and knowledge of an organization's existing structures, technologies and processes. If not handled with care, it can carry significant risk, particularly if there is a communication disconnect between the company’s business leadership, operations, and IT department regarding existing operational and business requirements.
Consultant Sophia Abdelmawla notes that effective data transfer is also a common challenge.
“Data migration comes up a lot in my work,” says Abdelmawla, “I’ve found that a little bit more upfront work to establish business requirements and ensure there is an effective lift and shift of data between systems will minimize a number of potential issues later on.”
Despite the potential challenges with integrating systems to enable DPC, the benefits are undeniable. As design, data management and documentation tracking technologies expand, businesses have more opportunities to capture value by establishing interdependent relationships between them. This improvement amounts to automation of manual processes, which in turn offers individuals and teams more time to focus on the creative process and deeper analysis of trends and assortment planning. With the right planning and execution, implementing DPC can open up exponential opportunities for both cost savings and value generation.
One thing is certain – having right team will be essential for companies to succeed. As we discussed in a previous blog, the correct technology team is needed to support the growth of a company’s digital journey.
Companies also need a team dedicated to innovation. This can include specific internal teams, a CIO or external assistance to stay on top of emerging technologies. With a rapid ascension to a connected virtual pipeline, having a dedicated team to monitor, understand and bring experience and knowledge to help both brands and suppliers overcome major, complex challenges that arise will be key.
Thanks for joining us for our series to expand on our 2022 Digital Maturity Research. The landscape of the retail industry has changed dramatically over the last 10 years, but it will likely change even more than that in the next three alone. Companies that realize this and build an adaptive workflow or pipeline will make those who do not look like they are standing still.
Our 2023 Digital Maturity Survey is launching soon. Check back to learn more.
Brendon Marczan is a leader in Kalypso’s international Digital Product Creation (DPC) advisory team. Born and raised in Sydney, Australia, Brendon moved to London 8 years ago after being approached by cycling sportswear leader, Rapha Racing, to head up their Team Sky ‘Tour de France’ kit development. He went on to spend 18 months traveling with Bradley Wiggins and seeing Team Sky take the UK’s first Tour de France win.
Ellery is a technical manager of digital product creation (DPC) at Kalypso. He is based out of the Oregon coast and when not behind his keyboard he can be found piloting a drone, taking his kids to school, playing below average golf or a more than serviceable first base and batting cleanup.
Sophia is curious by nature and driven to deliver the best solutions to her clients in the consumer industry. Currently, she is working within the consumer practice and is largely focused on DPC efforts.