What is integrated product information management?
Integrated Product Information Management refers to an interconnected PIM software suite for managing product data which can communicate and act seamlessly with all other elements of a company’s business software systems. As a centralised hub, PIM stores and uses complete, accurate, up-to-date product information on every product for sale. and modern PIM solutions offer highly automated, web-based operating features. When integrated it provides clean, accurate and single-version data to support systems like customer relationship management, order entry, inventory control, shipping, returns management and marketing activities like SEO. That makes it a key driver of any digital transformation initiative.
This insight article looks at:
- why traditional approaches to PIM integration are outdated
- what benefits modern PIM integration trends bring
- how these can benefit not only your product data management, but many other key business areas
Problems with legacy approaches to PIM integration
Taking an ERP as an example, the difference between an ERP system and a PIM is that the latter focuses specifically on the management of product information (onboarding, normalising, enriching for channels and distributing channel-ready product information), whereas an ERP manages all transactional data which drives business processes and workflows. It does not specialise in product data.
Organisations using legacy PIM systems tend to rely on point-to-point integration, where applications and systems connect with each other through a one-to-one relationship. If they want to connect other systems, they need developers to build custom code between each system, such as inventory, CRM et al.
This is just about adequate for smaller organisations working with a limited number of systems but nowadays, technological innovation allows organisations to add many specialised applications and systems. The old-fashioned approach generates “spaghetti code” – a mish-mash of solutions stitched together, creating a system which is unnecessarily complex and time-consuming to maintain.
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The modern approach to PIM integration
APIs – ease of multiple connectivity
Point-to-point integration is rapidly being replaced by modern PIM capabilities, where API*-driven connections make for easier and more agile PIM integration with other systems: Data connects to multiple applications through reusable APIs which can ‘unlock’ data from systems, compose it into processes, or deliver an experience.
This state-of-the-art approach powers seamless connections with the entire tech stack – from inventory to order history systems – to provide a source of high-quality product data for multiple uses.
The benefits of an integrated PIM
- All systems working with product information can automatically retrieve product data from the PIM
- Customer-facing channels such as ecommerce websites, large marketplaces or mobile apps, can be populated, updated and amended easily and speedily with product information from this central repository
- Personnel responsible for web services, web portals, data enrichment processes and product catalogs can retrieve, alter and deploy this information, knowing it is the definitive, updated, unique, high-quality and usable version
So, integration makes it easy to add a product in the back office and have the ecommerce platform automatically generate a product page which is Search Engine Optimised for the business website. Furthermore, syndication capabilities mean this is the case for multiple channel exports.
What you gain from integration
Performance enhancement in several ways, the most common benefits being:
- Simplified product information management processes
- Reduction in repetitive bi-directional data entry tasks
- Easily managed inventory levels regardless of business system or application
- Enhanced relationships with suppliers due to greater ease of communication
- Faster time-to-market
- Easier scaling to grow sales channels
- More complete visibility of product catalogs, aiding decision-making
- Reduction in operational costs
A couple of use cases exemplify these benefits:
Legacy tech stack auditing and PIM integration
No single tool can accomplish everything a business needs. Companies leverage numerous apps in their technology stack, but if and when you audit an existing stack, ask yourself what gains you would get from fully integrating a PIM solution.
When you check a PIM vendor’s website, there’s a wide range of PIM-friendly applications, including consultancy, business, and software partners with whom they work to implement and manage PIM services. Start with Data is proud to be accredited consultancy partner for several of the top-performing PIM vendors across many verticals and business types.
Start with Data and your PIM system integration - an informed, expert and solution-driven partner
Get in touch with us whether you have an existing PIM solution or you’re looking to streamline your product information management once and for all by integrating it with the latest technology. That way, you future-proof your operations.