What is PIM?

What is a PIM system?

PIM is the abbreviation of Product Information Management. A PIM system aims to ensure the company's ability to handle large amounts of complex product information and data. In addition, a PIM system can distribute information efficiently to all relevant channels. Product Information Management, is thus about gaining complete control of all product data including the processes that pertain to product data. Creating a single source of truth. 

Product Information Management (PIM) ensures that all product data is centralized in one system. 

Examples of product data that can be easily centralized with a PIM solution are: 

  • pictures, drawings, video 
  • manuals, instructions 
  • Technical specifications 
  • marketing texts 
  • product references 
  • channel hierarchies (for example: e-com, directories, apps, etc.)
  • SEO data

... in short "everything". The "whole" can then be further customised by several different language layers or other business-specific segments that can optimise your business.

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Segment your products

There can be various reasons for segmenting a product database such as customer type: btc, b2b or public sector customers. Most often, however, we see that products are segmented by geographic dividers. 

Several national markets give rise to language-differentiated product and market data. A PIM system optimizes companies' language processes by: 

  • Create an overview of which products lack translation 
  • Support automatic translation 
  • Autogenerate data feeds with "source" and "target" languages 
  • Reuse translations in all channels 
  • Reduce the cost / time spent on translations 
  • Translate and unify terms once and for all

PIM is the shortcut to an Omni channel strategy

Product Information Management enables the achievement of any omni-channel strategy by sending targeted channel data to the company's many channels / interfaces. How a PIM system supports your omni-strategy: 

  • Overview of all channels 
  • Overview of products in channels 
  • Centralization of channel data (data used in the individual channel)
  • Distribution of targeted channel data 
  • Dynamic maintenance of channel data 
  • Overview of channel data processes 
  • Central management and management of channel data. (Through rights management in PIM, the company ensures that it is the right employees who maintain the company's data) 

Standard PIM provides standard ERP

The data foundation of a company is often ERP and PIM. In ERP, transaction data is centralized. Transaction data is the data that the company uses to run all the internal processes (from offer to delivery). PIM centralizes all the data that the company must use to sell the product (technical specifications, descriptions, pictures, drawings, etc.). PIM thus "cleans" ERP of product customizations, ensuring that the ERP platform comes closer to containing what it was originally designed for. 

Our experience tells us that this setup grants the following benefits:

  • A big reduction in the cost of upgrading ERP 
  • Minimizing the cost of migrating from ERP X to ERP Y 
  • Large reduction in product maintenance costs 
  • Great flexibility, and fast TTM when new data requirements arise 
  • Fewer integrations between ERP and other systems 
  • Perfect platform in connection with company acquisitions, where ERP systems and product ranges must be combined 

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More about PIM for the attentive reader

We have written a little more about Product Information Management here - if your curiosity isn’t settled after reading this, don’t hesitate to contact us through the form above.

    Product information, and thus PIM, is the focal point of a purchasing decision

    Product information has always been important for a purchasing decisions, but the way we acquire it has changed drastically in recent years. In the old days, the seller was prompted for product information, now the consumers and retailers research via search engines, websites, catalogues, etc. It is therefore important to provide as much relevant product information as possible up front. It makes the buyer more willing to make a purchase decision that falls in your favour. With a PIM system, it is easy to deliver and maintain all types of product information that today's consumer and retailer demands.

    Create coherent user experiences across your sales channels with a PIM system

    Consumers and retailers seek information across multiple channels, and therefore it is important to follow customer behaviour. This behaviour challenges the company's ability to be present across channels with a coherent brand and message. To support this strategy, it is important to have a strong data foundation. A PIM system precisely achieves these benefits.

    Reduce time-to-market with Product Information Management

    Most markets today are dynamic and agile environments, customers are changing fast. Therefore, time-to-market is one of the most important competitive parameters. A PIM system reduces time-to-market by streamlining the product's journey through the value chain, from design to sale. In PIM, employees across the company's organization can work on and enrich product data - simultaneous. Marketing can begin catalogue production or the like, even if not all product information is available. If there is an update or change of product data in the ERP system, this information is automatically updated in PIM. Through an overview of which product texts have been translated and their status, a PIM system also facilitates the workflow with translations. Your translators can provide the translations directly in the PIM system. This also applies to other tasks in connection with enrichment of product data.

    A PIM system fights manual work where it makes sense and increases efficiency

    Mails, Dropbox, Onedrive and countless Excel sheets are often involved in a development process. Doubts about the final decision emerge as information is spread - especially if key people are suddenly absent. If you structure product data in your PIM system, you avoid the doubt and the endless chain reaction of questions about recent changes. The answer is found centrally and easily accessible in the company's PIM system. Here you can delegate responsibilities, where individual departments know exactly which data to handle. One therefore ends up shifting focus from “where” and “who”, to focusing on what the next step is. Departments can now focus on core tasks and maximum utilization of their competencies.

    Maintain an overview with a PIM system

    Efficiency is often associated with overview, which can be an ordeal if you are in the middle of a product launch. We all have our peak periods where we lack structure and overview. During these periods, the questions are plentiful, and typically they circle around the same issues: “…where is that file?”, “…has the design filled in the specifications?”, etc. With a PIM system you can get past these inefficient processes. It is possible to create workflows where the division of labour is clearly defined. It minimizes the chances of something being forgotten in the hustle and bustle.

    A PIM system is simply a central database with your product data

    Most PIM systems most often operate through a Windows client, usually based on data from a SQL server. With a connection to the database, you can create new products, fields and add as well as edit all the information that is to be distributed from the database to all your sales channels. A PIM System can handle all types of product data, whether it is text, images, video, audio, and other document types. Perhaps the greatest strength of a PIM system is its ability to handle data exchange with other applications. A PIM system must therefore have an open API, as it eliminates the restrictions when processing data, metadata and entering the data in other systems.

    How data enter a PIM system

    One should mention three systems that are absolutely essential when we talk integration of PIM. ERP, PLM and supplier portals are by far the highest priority: ERP - it is vital that you ensure a good integration between your ERP and PIM system. PicoPublish is a partnered with a number of PIM providers that have "out-of-the-box" integration with Dynamics AX, NAV and D365. CMS - There are great benefits to be gained from an integration between PIM and your CMS system. The primary benefits are faster time-to-market, valid product data and sharp reduction in maintenance of product data on website and web shops. It is easier to differentiate your websites / shops on language, you also have the opportunity to make a feed for your translators, so they know exactly what needs to be translated. This contributes to efficient workflows, and fewer cases where languages ​​cause problems. Supplier portals - If you have suppliers who enter data, then an integration to a PIM system, enables you to get the suppliers themselves to deliver their data directly into your PIM. In addition, PIM of course also supports efficient import as well as processing of supplier data.

    How to get data out of a PIM system

    ERP - If you have received supplier data into PIM, it must also be possible to export it into your ERP system. CMS - Integrate your CMS with a PIM system and experience how you always have fresh and valid product data on your websites - completely without time-consuming manual work. With the PIM system's synchronization module, you will find that data flows much easier to your CMS than from the ERP system. CRM - You can keep track of your best-selling products in which segments at what time. This knowledge must of course be logged in your CRM system. This allows you to create targeted marketing based on relationships between products sold. Adobe InDesign - Integration of a PIM system with InDesign is extremely advantageous in the production of brochures, catalogues, and online materials. This production is usually significantly optimized. The rationale increases the more complex the catalogue structure is, especially if individual price lists, language versions and country-differentiated prices are taken into account. Take the kitchen industry, for example, we achieve a minimum of 75% reduced labour hours.

    How to get the most value with a PIM system

    If one or more of the following scenarios reflects your situation, you have good vantage point to quickly achieve a positive ROI on the investment in a PIM system: You have many sales channels. And if e-commerce is just one of them, then you immediately have a stronger business case. You are present in several markets and work across many languages. Each language layer adds a dimension to your data that makes it difficult to manage marketing cost-effectively. Here too, a PIM system will help you greatly. Your growth goals make it necessary to increase your marketing efforts drastically. Often in new markets, multiple websites, directories and the like. This increased activity simply means that there is more that can be optimized, resulting in a high ROI. You have complex product data. An example could be that a large amount of data and descriptions, perhaps you make use of metadata or complex data relations. You want more data from suppliers. A PIM system makes it possible to outsource the heavy tasks involved in enriching products with information to your suppliers. With a PIM system, you can standardize how you receive information from your suppliers, and thus save time on converting and standardizing the many different formats.

    What PIM providers are there?

    According to G2, which is a fairly reputable online catalog of software and system providers, there are 138 providers of PIM systems worldwide (2021). In Denmark, we actually have quite a few PIM development companies: Perfion, Dynamicweb, Struct and Stibo to name a few. At PicoPublish, we are certified in Perfion, Dynamicweb and the Swedish inriver. However, this does not mean that you need these systems for us to assist you.