PIM vs PIM – a solution comparison

A PIM platform has the potential to add enormous value to a company’s bottom line. The very first step is choosing the best PIM solution for the precise needs of that company. Manufacturers, distributors, and retailers of all kinds can benefit from better quality product information delivered to all sales channels and can easily scale their offer in volume and reach.

On the other hand, the project executed for PIM implementation will run the risk of failing from/the start if:

  • the aims of the project are insufficiently defined, lacking essential information or even inadvertently incorrect.
  • the PIM platform chosen is not fit for the purposes of the business
  • employees do not use the PIM (Product Information Management) System as expected.

Therefore, application of accurate selection criteria is key to selecting the right PIM platform.

Choosing a PIM solution - key factors

TCO (Total Cost of Ownership)

The pricing format for purchase, implementation and support need to be transparent up front, as well as being affordable within budget constraints. Most expensive is not necessarily best. Most cloud-based PIM solutions offer flexible pricing options based on the user licence model.

Integration

If you are operating with multiple systems like ERP and CRM, you want your PIM solution to offer automatic and complete integration and synchronisation with other internal systems and should be configured to fit seamlessly into your current system infrastructure. Several PIMs offer a suite of ready-built integrations as an add-on purchase.The pricing format for purchase, implementation and support need to be transparent up front, as well as being affordable within budget constraints. Most expensive is not necessarily best. Most cloud-based PIM solutions offer flexible pricing options based on the user licence model.

Industry specificity

The majority of PIM software on the market is designed for specific market sectors, such as automotive parts, clothing, or computer components. Other solutions may be cheaper but require configuration or specialist implementation. The balance ultimately is between costs for customisation compared to out-of-the-box industry specificity

Scalability

Historically, PIM solutions have only really been cost-effective for large, multi-channel enterprises. Fortunately, there are now several PIM systems available for smaller-sized companies. Of course, they may be more limited in terms of functionalities and volume capacity. If scalability is the aim, think strategically about your choice to avoid more upheaval with another data migration and new PIM five years down the line.

eCcommerce Only

PIM solutions can manage physical as well as eCommerce sales platforms. As the two modes have separate requirements for PoS and inventory, it is worth considering the cost-effectiveness of a PIM solution designed purely for eCommerce.

PIM platform comparison

The following overview outlines the main factors to consider when comparing PIM platforms and solutions. We have then chosen ten popular PIM solution providers, providing an easy-to-consult comparison table followed by brief comments about each vendor –capabilities and best use in terms of sector, company type(s) and size.

Criteria

Here’s a list of the criteria, with a brief outline of why it matters for your assessment:

  1. Platform type

A PIM platform may simply be for Product Information Management but also might serve for Master Data Management, CRM, and data asset management. The nature of the platform will impact on the pricing, complexity, and functional extent of the solution.

  1. Software as a Service (SaaS)

PIM platforms based on the SaaS model mean easier scaling of the product offering. Additionally, they are available anywhere in the world, and vendors usually offer iterative improvements in the range of functionalities.

  1. Multi-tenant

Whether a multi-tenant PIM is one where multiple users can share a single instance of the platform. That means seamless cycles of development and release but also guarantees that each customer’s data is safe and secure.

  1. API-enabled

A key element of a PIM solution is how well it integrates with other solutions such as ERP, web shops and product catalog builders. With API-enabled connectors, this integration is rapid and easy.

  1. Supplier portal

Freeing up suppliers and other external partners, to onboard their product data enhances agility and provides a seamless process. It ensures a fixed format for data imports from the entire range of suppliers as well as validation rules automatically applied to guarantee data quality. Underpinning these functionalities should be a secure and detailed permissions functionality.

  1. Marketplace with additional apps

Nowadays, it is common for PIM system vendors to offer access to a marketplace of apps which add onto the PIM system and connect it to the IT ecosystem in the organisation. So, it clearly adds value if the provider has a range of these tools – Syndication, marketing campaign management, connectors to other systems.

  1. Built-in Digital Asset Management

When we talk about product enrichment on a PIM platform, a digital asset management functionality is the enabler. In the present eCommerce environment, the very minimum for efficient product data management are functionalities which permit labelling, downloading, or carrying out other formatting on rich media assets.

  1. Governance and process support

A PIM platform is most effective when its use and applications are governed by a strong rules-based framework.

Our PIM solution comparison chart

Winshuttle/Enterworks PIM solution

Winshuttle’s focus crosses industries, with many of its customers in retail and manufacturing. Its Enterworks PIM platform is closing the onboarding and creation gap with other providers by launching its enhanced Smart Template Pro. The Enterworks PIM solution is a good option for big organizations which want a multidomain solution to support both digital and physical product data.

inRiver PIM solution

inRiver versatility is embodied in its design for both B2B and B2C retailers. It’s a good fit for companies with high volumes of product data across many channels,

Akeneo

Reference customers praise Akeneo for its user-friendliness, particularly its hierarchy management. Integrations are also regarded as one of its strongest elements. Like many other providers in our chart, governance and process support isn’t notable, but Its partnership with syndication platform specialist, Productsup, is addressing that area of its offering. Akeneo is a good option for those companies wanting a PIM for marketers with minimal IT support required.

Riversand PIM solution

In its design, Riversand’s PIM platform has enterprise-level brands in mind. With the launch of its Ascend platform, it is focusing on midmarket, high-growth companies who want an agility in their PIM platform. Core activities covered include retail, manufacturing, and distribution, with particular emphasis on the automotive, food services, and healthcare sectors.

Salsify PIM solution

Salsify is a good fit for retailers operating with multiple user requirements. It has flexible role-based permissions and a range of tools for effective collaboration. It also boasts an audit history capability, making it an ideal alternative for large teams using product data which needs constant changes. Unlike many other providers, Salsify has strong governance and process support and notably speedy data enrichment tools.

Pimcore PIM solution

Pimcore is available for free as an open-source Community edition (with limited functionality), as well as a subscription-based payment model for enterprises. Pimcore’s platform is underpinned by API-driven software architecture. And allows businesses to manage product information, digital assets, digital commerce, and web content in a consolidated platform. It is ideal for software integrators, and enterprises wanting to have a consolidated management of product information, digital assets, and master data. 

Pimberly PIM solution

Pimberly’s platform is particularly suitable for companies managing large and complex product catalogs. Reference customers praise its speed in scaling SKU volumes rapidly. Additionally, ease of deployment is mentioned in many reviews.

Contentserv PIM solution

Contentserv’s platform is aimed primarily at B2B businesses, with its sizeable customer base being midmarket technical brand manufacturers, distributors, and retailers. It is a strong performer in product data enrichment, multilingual support, and search optimisation.

Informatica PIM solution

The Informatica platform is regarded as being good for B2C retailers wanting to enhance product data accuracy and simplify the supplier onboarding process. Capabilities include configurable user interfaces, digital asset management, automated data processing, a self-service portal and quality checking.

Data unification when planning a PIM implementation project

Your PIM needs to not only store product data uniformly but unify it as well. Work closely with your consultancy partner and chosen service vendor to discuss how unification (such as cleansing) can take place during the data collection and data migration. The stakeholders involved need to be clearly identified and the selected PIM system should be able to support this key and sensitive process. The key to establishing durable and consistent rules-based actions lies in the early establishment of a robust and well-thought-out data governance framework. This should be constructed with all key stakeholders, decision-makers and users.

Selecting the right service provider and consultancy partner to implement your project

Given the complexity and scope of a PIM implementation project, an enterprise is unlikely to be equipped with the scope of expertise to carry it out alone. This is where the support of a specialist PIM consultancy is invaluable. They work hand in hand with the vendor and the client’s key stakeholders and decision-makers to ensure that the project process is executed with minimal disruption and focused on optimal deliverables.

At Start with Data, we are equipped to offer that consultancy service. Our teams’ breadth of experience and depth of expertise ensure the best possible discovery, execution, and post-project support for everything concerned with your chosen PIM solution. Talk to us about your PIM needs.  

Find out more

If you would like to find out more about how product data management, PIM and MDM can create value for your business, we’d love to hear from you – Ben Adams, CEO Start with Data

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