Product data during the whole life cycle has a great impact on the efficiency and quality of the sales process and finally on the relations with customers. In order to manage this process, there are various solutions, ranging from storing data in an Excel database to more automated multifunctional systems.

Once you decided that your company needs one centralized source of information — you will definitely look for a PIM system.

What is PIM? 

A Product Information Management (PIM) system is a tool that centralizes and organizes all the information about your product. In other words, it is a system that contains all the marketing-related information about products. It supports workflows and processes for integration that improves product information enrichment.

PIM systems help manage information about products within the company, track changes, accelerate processes, store all information in one place and provide complete product information to potential partners and customers. Another advantage of the PIM system is the ability to work with information received from different sources: websites, print catalogs, reports and, of course, electronic data.

Product Information Management workflow 

The product data is collected and enriched by many people within the company and as a result, the quality of information is dramatically improved. The PIM system creates a central place for consistent data distribution to other applications like websites, online catalogs, e-commerce (B2B, B2C, B2X), product configurators, product selection tools, printed materials.

Product Information Management system enables the most efficient data management workflow in just one place. The system helps to collect data from many sources and enrich it by many people in one central system. Let’s clear up what does it mean by data acquisition, enrichment and distribution.

Data collection (data acquisition)  

  • Connection to every possible data source  
  • Handle specific formats and locales  
  • Normalize the data  
  • Processing measurements and diagnostics from laboratories  

Data enrichment 

  • Creation and edition of all aspects of product information  
  • Use of data linking, dynamic lab data, and batch tools to make the work effective  
  • Storing of assets in media bank for reuse  
  • Data requirements creation by using templates and validation  
  • Handling editors and translators from all over the world with country-specific locales and a flexible permission system 

Data distribution 

  • Access product data from every point of the product life cycle  
  • Support with historical data  
  • Specific data export for different channels (web, DTP, mobile app)  
  • Control of information published for various markets and languages  
  • Design of permission-based product life cycle with scheduled actions  
  • Data delivery 

What is the business value of the PIM system?

The PIM software allows making your sales and marketing team to focus more on data quality and minimize the time for repeatable activities. It reduces constant and manual data entry work makes the search for products easier and provides up-to-date product inventory information.
There is no perfect fit PIM system for every kind of business. Choosing the right solution, can be a painful process if you haven’t identified your needs. So what you can do to define right requirements? Pay close attention to these next elements.

Compatibility

If your PIM can’t connect to your ERP, online catalogs, mobile applications, then you lose the main advantages of PIM. Your ideal PIM system should be compatible with most of the system that will consume product data and information.

Automatization

Choose a PIM that can automate some processes, validate the information based on templates, track the enrichment and free your marketing team as they can do more of the most important and necessary tasks.

Markets and languages

Make sure that your PIM can adapt to different markets and sales channels in different countries. Market-based product ranges, pricing policies, and automatic recalculation of measuring systems are a strong foundation.

Usability

PIM system must be user-friendly for employees with non-technical skills. An interface should provide users clear guidance on what they can do and simply increase their work efficiency. With more automation, people spend less time on time-consuming repeatable activities and can focus more on data quality.

When to start thinking about custom PIM solution? 

  • When the product data sources are defragmented and information are stored in many different systems, files, and databases — there is no single source of data. 
  • When product time-to-market is long and introducing a new product is very complicated, also when publication routines are complex. 
  • When standard solutions like Pimcore, Akeneo or inRiver can’t cover all needs related to very advanced technical details like measurements, lab data, language-depend product assets, drawings, 3D models etc.