Market Guide for Product Information Management Solutions
The right product information management (PIM) software helps businesses organize, store, and manage their data all in one place. Why is this kind of management system necessary, and which is the right one for an organization? The answer is that it depends on the business's needs/ Still, at the core, a PIM solution with extensive functionality is key for centralizing data and creating smoother workflows.
What Is Product Information Management Software?
Product information management software, otherwise known as PIM, is a type of software used to store and manage different kinds of product data on a central database. The kinds of product data a PIM solution may store, manage, and organize include:
The system may also keep or organize digital assets including how-to videos, specification sheets, owner's manuals, product photos, and more, if the PIM solution has its own built-in Digital Asset Management (DAM) functionality.
What Does a Product Information Management System Do?
The purpose of a PIM is to organize, manage, and store data in a centralized location where it can be updated across the board in real time. Multiple users can log in at the same time and make changes; all of them will see those changes as they occur. A good PIM serves as a single source of truth, making sure all people in an organization have access to the correct, updated details about the products they work with every day.
Some PIM systems also have an additional function called "Digital Asset Management" or DAM. DAM is one of several helpful product information management tools because it allows users to store additional documents, videos, images, and product information that the PIM system may not store on its own. Essentially, by working together, the two different systems can help ensure all the correct data is stored together, located in one easy-to-find location, and kept accurately. Additionally, with the right PIM and DIM system, employees across multiple departments will have access to the tools they need at all times. Sales departments will have the latest data and marketing departments will have access to details about products.
What Are the Functions of PIM?
PIM software has several functions. The primary function is to house product data, but it may also have a Digital Asset Management (DAM) built in to store product-related digital assets. It's not uncommon to see software with both functions that can store items including troubleshooting videos, installation videos, tech spec sheets, owner's manuals, and other digital assets.
What Is the Purpose of a PIM in a Company?
Most manufacturers have their data stored in spreadsheets, which are then shared in various file folders on the company network or an individual’s hard drive. They may have multiple locations where product data, such as images and other details, are kept, which makes it hard to stay organized or access that data effectively. Realistically, this lack of centralization makes it impossible to effectively manage all product data and update it accordingly.
There can be several purposes for using PIM within a company, but the main reason is the centralization of data. When using PIM software, companies have an opportunity to keep all their product data in one place. Since that data is centralized, any changes made by a user will be updated immediately for everyone. That's a key component of a PIM system since real-time updates help prevent mistakes and errors caused by out-of-date information.
PIM software solution is just one part of a successful PIM strategy, though. Companies also need to focus on several other aspects of business to thrive.
Quality Content: Ensure the most up-to-date product information is always available in the PIM, so you can develop quality content with the correct specifications.
Content Targeting: Tailor the product content for each brand for the target audience.
Content Accessibility: Make sure that every piece of product information is stored in the PIM and that all employees know how to access it. If all of the pertinent product information is not available in your PIM, then you’ll likely start to see employees creating their own spreadsheets or documents storing product information. This is highly problematic, as it creates multiple sources of information rather than keeping everything in one place.
Content Governance: Make sure your PIM is always secure, and ensure only the designated employees have access to update product information. Too many cooks in the kitchen can lead to trouble with data governance. You may want to identify team leads or project leads to put in charge of updating product data.
What Is an Example of a PIM?
Good product information system examples include:
Gartner Product Information Management Magic Quadrant, which is published over 100 times annually, analyzes vendors and can give businesses a deeper, industry-researched look into the PIM solutions that may be best for their needs.
What Is the Best PIM Software?
The best product information management software for a business depends on its budget, timeline, and other wants and needs. Some of the PIM tools in market today include:
These and other PIM platforms are all a little different, so companies need to understand their needs before deciding on one that is right for them.
PIM vs MDM
A Product Information Management (PIM) solution is designed to centralize the management of product information including product data and digital assets. This product information is used across a wide variety of online and print product experiences, including:
A PIM is used to store all this necessary information and data in one place, so it's easy to access and use when needed.
On the other hand, a Master Data Management (MDM) solution centralizes all the organization’s information. An MDM solution provides a company with a single source for all information across the entire business, not just product data. An MDM solution is typically an enterprise-wide deployment that is extensive to implement. A PIM solution is much easier and a more useful implementation for marketing and sales teams, making it a good choice for businesses that aren't looking for the extensive (and expensive) functionalities of an MDM.
The PIM Competitive Landscape
Today, there are numerous PIM software examples, including:
Interestingly, Adobe and Shopify do not offer a PIM. Each of these solutions offers the ability to centralize the management of product data and some solutions offer additional functionality. For that reason, many businesses should look deeper into the right PIM option for them, since they will need more consistent functionality that matches up with their workloads and processes.
How to Choose a PIM Solution
While there are many PIM solutions available, companies need to consider five key questions when determining the best PIM software for their business:
What functionality do you need? The answer to this question will have a MAJOR impact on what PIM solutions you include in your evaluation process. Some PIM solutions solely offer product data management functionality and require you to use another third-party solution to manage your digital assets and create your digital product experiences. There also are comprehensive solutions that include PIM, DAM, and DXP functionality in their offering, making it easier to manage all aspects of your product experiences from a single platform. Most of these comprehensive solutions often refer to themselves as Product Experience Management (PXM) platforms, since they offer a full suite of functionality for managing various product experiences.
What other systems do you need to integrate with? For some companies, the list of potential integrations for a PIM may be limited, while other companies may have an extensive list of integrations. The answer to this question is often one of the most important in the valuation process after functionality because it can quickly rule out various solutions if you need an integration that they don’t have or plan to add to the software in the future.
How will the product information be used? Depending on your business, your product data will be used in a wide variety of ways. You'll use product data on your website and in product catalogs, for sales resources, events, channel partners, and more. You must identify the various ways your business needs to use your product data and related digital assets. By doing this, you will empower your team to select a PIM solution that meets the unique needs of your product information.
For example, some PIM solutions only store your product data and digital assets but don’t have an easy way to share this information with your website. This means you’re going to need technical resources to build an integration between your website and the PIM, so your product information can appear on the website. Other platforms may include a built-in DXP where you can build your entire website using their solution and have your product data automatically integrated. Similarly, some solutions allow you to quickly create a product sheet or brand portal in only a few clicks, while other solutions don’t provide this functionality at all and require you to use other third-party software or solutions. For all of these reasons, it’s imperative to create a list of how your product data is used, so you can determine if each solution you’re evaluating can deliver on those use cases.
What type of budget is defined for this initiative? It’s extremely helpful to have a budget defined before you start evaluating potential vendors. Having a budget will allow your buying team to be upfront throughout the process about your budget and eliminate any potential solutions that far exceed it. You’ll also find that pricing greatly varies among solutions, and a higher price doesn’t necessarily mean you’re getting better functionality or service. For example, Lumavate’s PXM Platform is often 75 percent more cost-effective than competitive solutions and offers substantially more functionality out-of-the-box than its competitors.
What is your timeline for implementing a solution? Finally, think about your timeline. You definitely don’t want to rush the evaluation process when selecting a PIM solution, but you also need to consider the implementation timeline as part of your evaluation process. Some PIM solutions take months to complete their initial implementation and will require the use of professional services, while other solutions allow you to create a free trial of their platform directly from their website and start using it immediately. While the timeline isn’t likely to be your deciding factor, it’s important to consider it during the process. The sooner you have a PIM solution in place, the faster you’ll start increasing productivity for your business.
Lumavate is often the best choice for anyone evaluating a new PIM solution because it offers complete Product Experience Management (PXM) functionality, a function that focuses on delivering the highest-quality product experience to customers. Within the Lumavate Platform, you'll have access to a Product Information Management (PIM) solution you can use to centralize the management of product data.
You'll also be able to use built-in Digital Asset Management (DAM) functionality to store product-related digital assets, a Digital Experience Platform (DXP) to build digital product experiences in minutes, a text messaging capability, and a comprehensive form builder solution that integrates into the company’s system of record.
There are no other solutions on the market with the breadth of functionality that Lumavate has, and Lumavate is often 75 percent more cost-effective than competitive solutions that have less functionality.
Keep in mind that the cost of PIM can vary significantly depending on the exact PIM solution and the functionalities it has built in. Some PIM solutions will charge you based on the number of SKUs you store within the PIM software. Others will base their pricing on how often you use the product data you store.
Lumavate provides a unique approach to pricing as a comprehensive product experience management (PXM) platform. Rather than paying fees that might change from month to month, you can get started for just $499 a month. By paying monthly, you'll save up to 75 percent compared to our competitors. Additionally, you'll save even more when you try Lumavate for free for 14 days using our Free Trial option.
It's possible to master data management solutions for your company. The first step is putting all of your product data in a PIM and storing all of your digital assets in a DAM. Lumavate offers you PIM functionality and DAM functionality right out of the box. Once you store and can access your data, it's time to move forward to create digital product experiences for every moment in the customer journey. You will want to create product experiences for your customers, partners (retail, dealers, distributors), and employees, too, as you get started.
For more information, ask us about our market guide for product information management solutions.
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