What is our primary use case?
Basically, the solution enables us to have master data management for product information or for products. We are a wholesaler with multiple companies within the group, and STEP enables us to manage cross-company products that are used by one or more companies in a very detailed way. It is handling market standards like ETIM.
The main use-case is to enable us to get data from all possible data sources like vendors and data pools, for instance, to enrich the product information both with assets, as well as attributes. We can now manage the data properly and distribute the product information data that we have to different channels.
How has it helped my organization?
It enables us to have better (workflow) control and to manage data quality properly.
What is most valuable?
The solution is very feature-rich out of the box.
It's highly customizable and configurable.
The way you can build workflows and business rules is very powerful. It enables us to now have a workflow throughout the organization, where people get their approval on changes that have been made on either one specific product or a class of products, or a group of products.
The business rules are used to improve and manage data quality, and also enable having relations between products. For instance, when they are compatible or when they are sold together heavily, we can use the information for cross-sell and upsell purposes.
It's powerful and it's stable.
What needs improvement?
I don't know if it's specific to the product, however, we have been struggling with the interfacing. It's very difficult to link that directly to the product. That said, if you would say one thing, then it would be the difficulties that we've had with interfacing with our systems. It took three or four times the amount of time we expected it to.
Although they have done a lot with the user interface, and I must say it's clean and crisp, it could be more playful or more colorful, or just more appealing.
The initial setup is complex.
The solution is expensive (but worth it).
In the future, we would like to have better asset management manipulation capabilities. If you make up a picture, for instance, if you want to crop it, or you want to manipulate it with better lighting or colors or add watermarks, you should be able to do so. This type of feature is in its infancy.
For how long have I used the solution?
We decided on STEP somewhere around mid-2020, however, we have only been live with the product since the 1st of March. That's now five days. Obviously, we've got nine months of experience in developing the solution.
What do I think about the stability of the solution?
The solution is quite stable. There are no bugs or glitches. It doesn't crash or freeze. It's reliable.
What do I think about the scalability of the solution?
We only implemented the product at one of our companies and we started with the smallest one. We've got about 15 people now working with the product, including the project team. The next go-live we will add another 20 to that. Overall, we are moving to around 100 users. That's something for next year. We are gradually building up to that.
There are some guarantees as to the speed and the performance of the software. Given that it's a SaaS solution, I would expect that it's very scalable as that's what we contracted for - both in terms of storage, as well as performance. Although it's very scalable, it hasn't been used like that yet.
How are customer service and technical support?
In terms of technical support, up until now, that was handled through our technical consultant from the implementation partner. We didn't get one-to-one help, however, we did log some tickets. They are quite responsive and very knowledgeable. We are quite satisfied with the way they helped us so far.
Which solution did I use previously and why did I switch?
We did previously use a different solution, however, it was not a well known technology. It was a small Dutch supplier. We used it for about 15 or so years.
It did serve its purpose, however, it's very old-fashioned. It was too small to really invest in making the solution any better over time. It doesn't have workflows, for example, and it doesn't have business rules or extensive asset management, for instance. It's very difficult to have rights and roles defined on the level that we wanted to. You either had access and edit rights or you didn't for an entire database, but we want to be able to pinpoint roles and rights to certain attributes even.
We will be interfacing temporarily with the software, as we don't do a big bang for the next phases, however, that's the only solution that we have experience with.
How was the initial setup?
The initial setup is a complex process, not so much due to the product itself. Obviously, the configuration for multiple companies at the same time creates a challenge. It's well supported within STEP, however, it takes a couple of months to really set it up properly. And certainly, if you look at workflows and business rules, you have to set them up from scratch.
In terms of maintenance, if you look at the maintenance side from a systems' perspective, then there is no maintenance, as it's a SaaS solution. The only thing that you really have to do is if there's a patch, then you have to authorize the patch itself on the system. That's it.
Any other maintenance is mainly in changing or building workflows and business rules, or new web UI screens, for instance. If you've got new ideas on workflows, then you also have to build new screens, of course, however, that's part of the workflow. In maintenance, currently, it's 90% or 95% just building new things and not really maintaining the system itself.
If there's a performance issue, of course, we would log the ticket with the supplier and they would need to change something in the background. That said, that is all part of the deal if you buy a SaaS solution.
What about the implementation team?
At first, we did it with the implementation partner, and we participated with two of our own personnel. Now, we've turned it around and we're going to do it with five of our own staff with one person from the implementation partner, and one person one day per week from the supplier.
What's my experience with pricing, setup cost, and licensing?
We pay a license fee per month and we get a number of users for that, and a number of interfaces and channels. We do have one specific plugin that we are currently designing, and they're going to build it for us and we will pay extra for that.
It's one fee for everything.
Which other solutions did I evaluate?
We almost had decided for another product. That was not 100% mature yet. We wanted one that continuously improves. That's very important for us, as we want to be able to keep up with the market and follow the newest arrangements or newest features. That's why we chose this option.
What other advice do I have?
We are a customer and end-user.
We have the latest update, which is the cloud version. We were one of the first SaaS solution users of them, however, we didn't install the latest patch yet. The reason that we didn't want to go to the latest is we didn't want to have any trouble going live. We are going to do the latest patch update likely next week.
I would recommend this product to other organizations.
It's stable and it's a world-class supplier. They've been in business for 150 years or 200 years or so as a company. Obviously not as a software supplier, but as a company. They come from the printing business. They are re-investing a lot of their margin or their profits into the product itself. That shows, and that's why we are very happy with it.
I'd rate the solution at a nine out of ten.
Which deployment model are you using for this solution?
Which version of this solution are you currently using?