PIM implementation: top 5 Frequently Asked Questions
Retailers, distributors, brands and manufacturers are adapting their business models and infrastructures to respond to an accelerated demand for e-commerce-powered purchasing. As more and more of these companies search for information about PIM and PIM solutions, we’ve looked at 5 of the most frequent questions asked, about a PIM implementation to give them a commercial edge.
1. How well does a PIM system work in conjunction with a current ERP?
Generally, businesses use an ERP system like SAP to store and manage their product or service information. It’s perfectly feasible to use an ERP and a PIM in conjunction, although to do so optimally, it is key to do a discovery and gap analysis to examine how product data is currently managed and how the PIM solution will enhance that management in future. That not only involves the data itself, but also all the procedures, processes, and workflows surrounding its use.
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2. What is the best way to optimise the processes around onboarding product data from external partners, particularly suppliers?
The volume and complexity of product information is rising exponentially, arriving in various formats and from various sources. Suppliers provide product data in varying formats and variable quality and consistency, so to optimise onboarding, a PIM implementation offers a series of AI-powered tools and processes to normalise, standardise and quality-check this information. It also permits suppliers to use an onboarding portal, hence eliminating the need for constant queries about missing or incorrect information. With use of APIs and Enterprise Service Bus (ESB), it will become much easier to access data from other sources, centralise it in a PIM, and guarantee it surpasses the desired quality threshold.
3. How do we migrate product data from a legacy system to the new PIM?
Product data migration involves more than simply transferring source data to a new PIM system. Most data migration projects need a series of complex procedures for data validation, cleansing and transformation. Therefore, the data migration project team must possess forensic expertise in both source and target systems, as a well as detailed knowledge of the current (and desired) state of the data in question. Basically, that means:
- Establishing the business requirements to select the best migration, by doing data quality checks and rigorous data cleansing
- Creating, executing, and monitoring a data migration plan previously determined by the optimal system setup
Data migration is a complex and critically important component of a PIM implementation. Get it right and you hit the ground running after go-live. Get it wrong, and problems with your product information will stack up.
4. Who needs to be involved in a PIM implementation project?
Many PIM implementation projects do not come to fruition, or end up causing more problems than creating solutions, because the right people were not involved or due to a lack of broad organisation will. The key factors are:
- Senior management – the sponsors and ‘data champions must take ownership of the project. That means delivering a compelling business case focusing on the tangible value added to the business by a PIM solution.
- A PIM implementation must be anchored in organisation-wide buy-in. It is not a purely IT-led project. The input of business users means building a project dynamic of collaboration across disciplines in the organisation, where everyone is clearly aligned and onboard with strategic aims.
- Clearly, the solution vendor is key, but it is highly advisable to work alongside a consultancy partner whose expertise enables forensic analysis of the current state of product data, the associated problems and the data modelling and build which leads to the right choice of solution to solve those problems. An objective perspective is the key here – the consultant has no departmental axe to grind!
5. How much does a PIM implementation cost?
Depending on the size of the organisation and the complexity of the solution required, cost varies. Remember, though, that PIM is an investment and not an expense. Use our PIM pricing calculator to get an idea of the cost for your specific project.
Common variables involved in PIM implementation projects include:
- the number of users and the type of use
- the extent of modular add-ons or alterations needed for the baseline system
- the current state of your product data – its quality and its location(s)
- the pricing (or subscription) models you choose
- whether the solution is open-source or proprietary, cloud-based (most common and recommendable from now on) or on-premises.