June 6, 2002, 12:00 AM

Include everyone, take small steps to create a singular database

Implementing a single database to manage web and print product presentation requires coordination among departments and people.

Implementing a single database to manage product presentation on the web and in print requires coordination among a number of departments and people, observers say. And the process starts at the top. "Companies need to make sure there is an element of change management in the process," says Carsten Lau, director of marketing of Pindar Systems. "That means getting people involved and making sure they understand that roles are changing."

Once that happens, the next step, Lau says, is to identify what he calls the power users in each department whose acceptance of the system can drive others to accept it as well. "A power user is usually middle management who`s involved hands-on but oversees the whole thing and understands how a change in one department affects the neighboring departments."

Next, management needs to bring each person involved in creating product descriptions into the process. "You need to work with each member that touches the product process," says Jack Harbaugh, vice president of business development at Evant Solutions Inc. "You have to find out from all of them what their rules for data are and what they need from others in the organization."

Once the process is in place, retailers should start small. "Narrow the scope; don`t try to do all corporatewide information at one time," says Russ Henry, senior vice president of marketing at Trigo Technologies Inc. "Start with a product line or a division."

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