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Product information management VS database

You have a killer range of products. Top-notch. They tick all the boxes when it comes to satisfying a clear demand out there. But…you simply aren’t performing at the level you know you can when it comes to sales revenues. What’s more, the internal workings of your company leave a lot to be desired – too many person hours are spent on finding, processing, and preparing your product data to be syndicated to the multiple channels you need to operate across.

Typical tech stack

Your tech stack consists of a series of legacy systems which ‘do a job’ after a fashion. Byt that doesn’t cut it nowadays. As a product-centric company in a cut-throat environment, you can’t just cobble together numerous legacy systems with masking tape and glue, cross your fingers and hope for the best.

The database in itself isn’t the problem. After all, there are plenty of great systems out there. But none of these databases are designed specifically to enhance management of product data. So, when comparing PIM with a regular database, it’s about how you manage your organisation’s systems and processes explicitly in relation to a massively valuable asset – product data.

What is a database for?

Database’ is a generic term for any centralised system which manages business-critical data, safely and securely. If we look at the typical legacy tech stack for the majority of companies selling products, we find that, although well-equipped to manage systems in general terms, they are missing a key component to stay competitive in a rapidly-changing eCommerce environment. A dedicated solution for managing their fast-growing volume of product information – a PIM.

But with an often loosely connected set of systems, each dealing with a different area, things fall through the cracks, which is why having a fully-integrated PIM solution ensures your product information is in one place, unique, and fit for purpose.

A database is a generic term – what we want is a specific tool. Below, we look at the poitential pitfalls if we rely too much on the generic without focusing on the specific.

Teams against teams

If each department is managing its own versions of product data as a part of their database, problems with product data quality emerge. Distributed teams and external content providers are key to your commercial imperative, which is to keep adding categories, launching new products and exploiting new opportunities – that’s why you want to digitise, right? To scale your operations and take advantage of revenue opportunities. The last thing you need is all that information flooding across your company, seeping into databases all over the place and snowing various teams under with excel spreadsheets!

You need to do this – quickly and efficiently

Product Information Management is vital for businesses whose multiple teams need to:

  • Import data & assets from multiple disparate vendors and suppliers in varied formats
  • Identify discrepancies or errors in product data & documents
  • Deal with complex product relationships
  • Export product information to multiple sales channels and marketplaces with specific data requirements/formats 
  • Provide customers, partners, and internal teams with different configurations of data details
  • Distribute to distinct, multilingual geographies

 With a PIM, you plan more efficiently and launch products faster.  ERPs and databases all perform important tasks, but they don’t have the targeted functionalities you need to create a compelling product experience. A PIM is not a replacement for an ERP, but an enhancement. It’s a key element for providing a higher volume of centralised, qualitative information about products.

But…can a PIM and a database work together?

Very much so! ERPs were originally designed simply to get stock into a business and move it out to a retailer or vendor. It was designed to be a transaction-based tool, and current ERPs still feature a relational database model, with a predefined method of checking and managing product data. A PIM is modelled on a non-relational database model, thus offering a more fluid and intuitive method of accessing (re-)organising and enriching product data. It can also market that data through sales channels to reach the end consumer.

This benefits operational efficiency and sales potential. You no longer need to spend time searching for product information in the ERP because it now lies within a platform which is specifically geared for managing it. Your PIM centralises all disparate product data into a single location and is the ‘single source of truth’ for that data – basically, it can ‘sit’ on top of your ERP and channel all product-related information into a single source of truth.

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Start with Data - an informed, expert and solution-driven partner

At Start with Data, our passion is driving added value for businesses by empowering them to handle their product data better. It won’t be long before those product-centric companies without excellent product data management will head the way of the dinosaurs and the dodo. In this digital landscape, it’s survival of the fittest, and we will help you to stay fit now and into the future.

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