Understanding what PIM is, how it works, and how it can benefit your business is only the first step. Once you have decided that your business needs PIM, there is the matter of choosing a PIM system, actually implementing it, and then fully integrating the system to your business processes.
Choosing a PIM system
A one-size-fits-all PIM simply does not exist. Different companies have different needs and requirements, and all these need to be considered in choosing a PIM system. Here are some steps you can take in choosing a PIM system that will be fit for your business.
- Research, then research some more. Reading this article is already a good start. Before you even look for a PIM system, you first have to get an overview of what PIM really is—what it does, how it works, etc. Aside from this, you will also have to conduct an internal analysis and assessment of your needs as a business. What operational problems can PIM solve for you? What aspect of your product information management is causing too much of a hassle and PIM can improve?
- Compare and evaluate vendors. There are many PIM solution providers in the marketplace that offer you mostly similar features, but also differing and unique ones. Know your options, compare them against each other, and most importantly, evaluate them in light of your business needs.
- Choose according to your own specific requirements. You wouldn’t really want to choose a PIM solution that seems good on paper but is actually an incompatible fit for your company. Make sure that each aspect of your chosen solution corresponds to an organizational need that the PIM can solve.
The anatomy of a good PIM—the things that you may want to look for in a potential solution
We’ve said it before but it bears reiterating: there is no single PIM that can simply work for every business irrespective of size, type, or industry. There just isn’t. Regardless, there are certain things that you can add to your list of considerations along with your specific business needs when shopping for the right PIM system:
- The basics. Amid the many add-ons or special features that different PIM systems may offer, be careful not to overlook the core functional components. At the very least, a good PIM should provide you a repository to store all product information, a portal or a setup that lets you onboard or collect information from suppliers and other sources, a system that allows you to create, enrich, and manage such information, and a component that enables you to distribute the information to various channels. (Read more at The Forrester Wave™: Product Information Management Solutions, Q2 2018)
- Usability and straightforward interface. PIM provides the technology, but ultimately, the success of this project will depend on how well your team is able to utilize it to make your processes more efficient. Therefore, look for a PIM that is friendly to all users who will be involved—management, IT, marketing, sales, e-commerce managers, customer service, and even your third-party partners like manufacturers, suppliers, etc.
- Compatibility with your current system. Whatever e-commerce platform or CMS you are currently using—Magento, WordPress/WooCommerce, Shopify, or Umbraco, you have to make sure that the PIM system you eventually choose is compatible and provides integration for your present setup.
- A good support setup. While you may also need the assistance of a professional third party to implement PIM for you, your own PIM provider should have a good support system that you can reliably turn to, especially during the early days of implementation.
- Scalability. Your business will grow, and the systems supporting it should be able to grow along with it. The current needs of your business is a very important factor to consider, but don’t forget to take into account your long-term goals and future plans. The PIM solution that you choose should be enough to cover what you need in the present, but must also be flexible enough to support your inevitable growth and expansion in the future.
That being said, of course you can’t always anticipate future requirements that will come your way. Even as you implement and start to use your chosen PIM system, you may discover needs that may not have been apparent at the start, and you will better learn how to use it in such a way that ensures optimal efficiency for your company. This is where scalability comes in again, ensuring that your starting point is a solution that meets your current needs, but also allows room for you to be able to easily adapt for your future requirements.
Top PIM systems in the market
You have plenty of options for great solutions out there. To start, here are some articles that list top PIM providers that are currently in the market, including inRiver, Pimcore, and our preferred Akeneo PIM…
Implementing a PIM system
PIM seems like a fairly complex system—and it is, but its implementation is not that complicated when you have the right resources and partners. The success of a PIM’s implementation will still largely depend on the people who will work behind the scenes. Just as with your manual workflows, PIM still needs good collaboration among your teams, albeit more simplified.
Aside from implementing the system itself, PIM will also need to be integrated with your existing systems as well as the manual processes that your team has been accustomed to. As such, a PIM implementation is a process that is better handled with a professional third-party assistance. An experienced IT supplier can help you implement PIM for your business in such a way that maximizes the potential of your chosen PIM solution.
When a client comes to us at 1902 Software for help on PIM implementation, we always make sure that we have an understanding of the needs that they are trying to solve, and the plans that they want to bring to life in the future. We then discuss an implementation plan then guide them through it step-by-step. This is only the beginning, though, as continuous support is needed to ensure that the PIM solution is doing exactly what it was intended to do and provide for the client’s business.
If you want to know more about PIM and how it can help your business, our team will be happy to help you. Contact us today and let’s talk about your project.