“Tomorrow, tomorrow, just not today…” or: How to end procrastination and what our brains have to do with this unpleasant habit?
Marriage. Kids. Relocation. Job change. Emigration. What do these things have in common? – Correct! It’s never the right time to tackle them. What are some work-related situations that fit into this category? Software updates? Modernization? Reorganization? Data cleansing? Or in short: Digitization? These are things that we usually postpone until we have that “extra time”. Of course, we know about the importance of those tasks, but somehow it’s never the right time to kick things off. Why is that? And what are the costs of our procrastination?
The conservative brain and the courage to change
To understand these phenomena, it is worth taking a look inside our heads. Despite being able to think “digitally” and quickly our brains tend to be rather conservative. Changes? Cause stress and risk. New unknown tasks? Often seem unratable. Other unknown factors? Should be avoided. While in our everyday life we sometimes find a way to convince our conservative brains that a new and thus rather unpleasant task doesn’t necessarily lead to stress or risk, most patterns in our lives can be explained by the typical functioning of the brain. “I’ll pick the couch rather than sports” or “I’ll stop smoking after my vacation” would be classic examples of this. We know that it’s the right step to take but we could postpone action until later and wait and see what tomorrow will bring.
“It’s fine the way it is” – Longstanding solutions and their pitfalls
Sticking to old patterns leads to consequences that most of us are probably familiar with. You don’t make any progress, but life goes on anyway. At some point, however, you will regret not having changed things up. In this case, it helps to imagine what happens if everything stays the same. Because this is precisely the perspective that matters when it comes to your digital projects.
Suppose a company does not yet use a software solution for product data management. The existing product information is scattered and of poor quality. There is no automation and employees spend a large fraction of their time compiling data for catalogs, for instance. Thus, the decision has been made: A new PIM-system is to be implemented. But quickly you realize: There are over 150 PIM software providers on the market. The systems seem complex and their pricing obscure. The company has staff shortages so there you go postponing the project again. “It’s fine the way it is.”
But during the next catalog production, you come to realize: This won’t work much longer. The frequent use of the copy & paste function has led to several little errors in the product information and the production process is taking multiple months. The need for a PIM system arises again. However, the financial situation is not favorable at the moment and employees are requested to save money. “Maybe we won’t need a new catalog until another year or two from now. Let’s just wait and see.”
But then things develop in a different way and customers increasingly demand a web shop. Again, a new website and shop seem inevitable. However, the prerequisite for the creation of a new website and shop is well-structured product data. Unless it is possible to manage the product data through the store itself? If this were the case, there would be no need to connect a new management program. “That would be quite pleasant.”
The cost of procrastination – why ‘procrastinitis’ costs money
And thus, the decision as to whether a PIM system is to be implemented or not as well as all the following steps and decisions are being delayed for months or even years. To take this example further, let’s look at the costs. While decision makers procrastinate employees must collect, locate, align and amalgamate data from various sources. This is reflected in the costs and the motivation of the workforce. Moreover, catalogs containing erroneous product descriptions lead to dissatisfied customers, wrong orders, complaints and higher support requirements such as help desk calls. Outdated websites seem unattractive to customers who generally expect web shops these days. If customers cannot purchase products online, you might lose them to competitors, therefore, you won’t be able to bind them in the long term. Previous research findings on PIM systems will no longer be usable in the future, as comparisons and criteria are no longer up to date and everything you’ve learnt about PIM systems so far will be forgotten in daily work life. Overall, procrastination and waiting come at a high price which can in fact be measured in labor and support costs, as well as a decline in revenue.
Lay the foundation for tomorrow’s success today
It’s only human to always wait for the right moment and postpone things. But how do you get started, when you have recognized the need for a new product management system, but the green light hasn’t been given yet? Here, too, it’s worth taking a look at our brains: In order to achieve great things, you need a clear objective, structured work steps and an exchange of experience. Our valantic PIM competence center has the courage and motivation to take on a project that’s within reach despite its potential risks and costs. Introducing a PIM system costs money, time and resources, but those costs can be considered the lesser of two evils compared to the follow-up costs incurred by doing nothing.
Our team of experts is here to support you in order for you not to lose sight of the project goals. With our professional view from outside the valantic PIM Competence Center can help you break out of digital procrastination and tackle necessary projects in a clear, transparent, and organized manner. Whether you need help selecting, improving, or replacing your PIM system, need a new impetus to your product data strategy or simply want to improve existing processes – we are there for you.
Just keep in mind: “Do not wait. The time will never be perfect.”