Product Information Management Examples
Product information management (PIM) software serves as a central repository for product-related information. The software enables manufacturers to organize their product data for efficient retrieval and works as a version control system by maintaining a change history for every stored item. Versioning capabilities allow a PIM to become a single source of truth for a company.
PIM solutions can operate as a collaborative tool that lets multiple users access and update information in real-time. It helps businesses organize, store, modify, and retrieve product information such as product pricing, descriptions, and specifications. When a PIM solution includes digital asset management (DAM) software, organizations can add digital information, such as videos and images, to the central repository.
What Is the Purpose of a PIM?
All product information system examples store and manage product data from a central location. Some PIM software solutions incorporate DAM capabilities, so manufacturers can easily access any product-related information, from model numbers to how-to videos. Having a trusted source allows for more efficient operations and consistently accurate data.
Manufacturers often store and manage product details according to their operating processes. Designers create the specifications that development uses to create a product prototype. Development is tasked with managing the flow of information until the product is ready for production. Production changes are the responsibility of plant personnel. How others within an enterprise get access to the information means searching through network files or asking engineering for assistance.
Not only is the process inefficient, it is also prone to error. Marketing may contact the product manager for information to use in a new product announcement. However, the data does not reflect any changes that occurred after it was in production. Inaccurate information can quickly damage a brand's reputation.
With a robust PIM solution, manufacturers can ensure consistent and accurate information across enterprise and delivery channels. Purchasing can access part specifications when evaluating new suppliers. Sales can confidently email a customer a product description. The technology can improve the employee and customer experience.
Why Manufacturers Need a PIM
PIMs do more than just centralize information. They can also improve data quality through better version control. The following capabilities answer the question of what is PIM good for.
Improved Data Quality. For quality results, PIM software needs quality data. There are PIM tools in the market that help with data acquisition and cleansing.
More Consistent Information. PIM software companies offer solutions that ensure consistent product information is used across all delivery channels.
Better Version Control. PIMs maintain a change history for any item in its repository. This capability ensures that only authorized modifications are available.
Efficient Scalability. Using cloud technology, some PIM software companies enable businesses to add functionality as they grow with minimal changes or disruptions.
Faster Search Results. Trying to locate information by searching network directories is time-consuming, and there's no guarantee that the information is correct. Maintaining data in a searchable format means it is readily accessible to employees and partners.
Easier Customization. A PIM's organizational structure makes tailoring information for specific markets easier. Data can be categorized by currency, location, or language to deliver a personalized customer experience.
Seamless Integration. The best PIM software 2023 offers integration with other systems, such as customer relationship management or enterprise resource planning software, creating a frictionless operating environment.
Product information management solutions create a competitive edge through improved customer experiences.
What Is an Example of Product Information Management?
PIM software examples range from stand-alone solutions to cloud-based platforms that include digital asset management functionality. For those that have a built-in DAM, managing product information includes digital assets such as:
Product Images. High-resolution images can be used in presentations, printed materials, and product catalogs. Centralizing the images ensures that products are shown to their best advantage.
Product Videos. Videos help employees, partners, and customers see how to use, install, or troubleshoot a product. DAMs help maintain quality standards, so only the best videos are used.
Product Guides. How-to guides or product manuals often include diagrams and pictures to help illustrate how to perform a task. Inaccurate or poorly constructed documentation can frustrate customers and damage a manufacturer's reputation.
The digital information can be incorporated into the following product information management examples for a more engaging customer experience.
Product Name. Employees may create internal nicknames or identifiers for products. These can be included as well as the official product name to avoid confusion.
Product Description. Sales and marketing often use product descriptions to create marketing and sales materials because they outline the product's functions, features, and benefits.
Product Specifications. Specifications include details such as product size, dimensions, and weight. They may include information on battery life or power requirements. Specification accuracy is critical for a positive customer experience.
Product Pricing. Product pricing can vary depending on where it is sold. Some countries assess a VAT-related tax, or a company may add a surcharge or discount based on volume or special handling. Being able to categorize the information reduces potential pricing errors.
Case Studies or Testimonials. Sometimes, case studies and testimonials can be printed; however, they can also be included in a video. They are designed to show how the product helped customers.
Product Warranty. Inconsistent details about warranties or guarantees can hurt a business's bottom line. PIM software can organize information for appropriate use.
Customer Care. Customer care information includes documentation on how the end user should care for the product as well as instructions to help customer support teams resolve customer issues.
Health, Safety, and the Environment Data. Keeping compliance information or certifications in one location ensures consistent wording and avoids potential legal action.
Any details that increase an employee's product knowledge or aid a customer in making an informed decision are examples of data that could be placed in a PIM.
What Is the Role of a Product Information Manager?
Product information managers' responsibilities are often incorporated in other job descriptions such as project, product, or marketing manager. Adding responsibilities to an existing role often presents a time conflict. There are not enough hours in the day for an employee to do both jobs.
Given the following responsibilities, it's not surprising that a product information manager is a full-time job.
Data Governance: Data integrity depends on following policies and procedures for storing, collecting, and using data. It's a product information manager's primary responsibility to establish and maintain those policies.
PIM Strategy: Someone needs to ensure that how the PIM is organized and used reflects the company's goals and objectives. A product information manager can keep the PIM strategy aligned with corporate strategies as markets change.
Workflows: Managers can create workflows that reinforce data governance policies. They can include checks and balances for creating, approving, and publishing product information.
Omnichannel Distribution: Delivery channels vary, and so do their content requirements. A social media ad is not the same as a website promotion, even though the basic information is the same. Product information managers are responsible for ensuring that the appropriate content is used for each channel.
Product Documentation: Product and product information managers can collaborate on creating training and materials for end users, employees, and partners.
Continuous Improvement: Continuous improvement methodologies develop processes that collect feedback on existing operations to keep pace with changing market and business needs.
PIM managers may take on added responsibilities such as preparing budgets, managing compliance, and communicating with stakeholders.
What Is the Best PIM Software?
The best PIM software is the one that meets a manufacturer's needs. With a growing number of PIM tools in market, businesses can become overwhelmed by the possible choices. Whether it's InRiver PIM or Akeneo PIM offerings, all PIM tools should centralize product information management.
Lumavate is one provider that offers a comprehensive set of product information management tools. It includes a built-in DAM that works with its digital experience platform (DXP) to manage a comprehensive product experience. Some solutions, such as Salsify PIM and Acquia PIM, also offer DAM features, but neither includes a native DXP for building digital experiences.
Adobe Experience Manager and Shopify offer digital experience solutions with a focus on eCommerce businesses. Neither offers a product information management (PIM) solution. Open-source solutions make PIM software free for those organizations that have the technical resources to support the software.
So what does a PIM tool do? It depends on the company and its product. That's why it's essential for manufacturers to know how to choose a PIM.
How to Choose a PIM
With so many options, manufacturers should prepare a list of requirements before evaluating providers to ensure they are focused on what features are critical to their success. The following five questions can help companies identify the best PIM software for their needs.
What Functionality Do You Need?
PIM software is central to delivering consistent and accurate product information. Creating a list of product functionality and prioritizing those items ensures that the chosen solution meets basic requirements. For example, having a single provider for both product information and digital asset management may be an essential function for some companies. Others may have an existing DAM and require a solution that can interface with the solution.
Comprehensive solutions that include a PIM, DAM, and DXP are often considered product experience management (PXM) platforms. These platforms, such as Lumavate, offer a full suite of product information tools for managing a range of product experiences. It's important to ask what is PIM used for in an organization to know what functionality is needed.
What Other Systems Do You Need to Integrate With?
Even a self-contained PXM may need to integrate with other business systems, such as accounting or website management. They may need to share data with a CRM solution or a resource and project management schedule. Some PIM software companies are more open to connectivity than others.
A monolithic structured solution can restrict connectivity to a limited number of third-party providers, making it difficult to combine existing functionality with a PIM. Even composable systems may limit third-party interfaces to only non-competing products. Lumavate has an open composable architecture with over 40 different APIs that connect to even competitors.
Integration also means connecting PIM software to other enterprise-wide solutions. Whether it's a customer support system or a customer data platform, a robust PIM should have multiple APIs to share data with the most well-known providers.
What Is Product Information Management Used For?
Product information management can be used for more than a central repository. Companies can use PIM software to deliver more accurate information and to manage access control. They may want versioning with complete change histories to ensure all approvals are received before publishing.
For example, a marketing team needs to release campaigns and make changes to product information faster. They may want to consider a solution that includes a digital experience platform, so information can be shared with websites and social media campaigns. If a separate DXP or PXM is needed, technical resources will be required to integrate the solutions.
Will product information be used in-store campaigns or at tradeshows? If so, does the solution have print capabilities to generate handouts or information sheets? Will it require technical support to move data from the PIM to a printer?
What Type of Budget Is Defined For This Initiative?
Every project has a budget, whether stated or unstated. When evaluating potential providers, having a budget in mind helps focus on the critical functionality first. It's easy to become sidetracked by "cool" features that do not address core needs.
The price of a PIM solution varies significantly depending on the solution, its functionality, and the company. Some pricing models are based on the number of items in a repository; others charge for the number of times the data is used. Many providers charge for the setup, configuration, and installation of their systems. Ongoing fees should also be part of budget considerations, as some companies establish an annual percentage increase as part of their initial agreement.
Lumavate provides its pricing on its website, so manufacturers can see what the solution costs. A typical monthly fee for the comprehensive product experience platform is $499. Typically, Lumavate is 75 percent more cost-effective than competitive solutions.
What Is Your Timeline for Implementing a Solution?
The quality and quantity of data determine implementation timelines. However, that doesn't mean delaying deployment for months. Some solutions allow companies to begin building a system while testing the software in a free trial. Others may require completing lengthy forms to determine the quantity of data that must be ingested before assigning technical resources to complete the implementation.
While no one wants to deploy a solution prematurely, organizations can work with providers to develop an implementation schedule that meets their needs. Product information can be added over time. Targeted data can be incorporated to meet business objectives. The sooner a system is operational, the quicker the improvement in productivity and customer experience.
What Is the Main Goal of Product Information Management at Your Company?
Regardless of your primary goal, identifying product data is the first step in implementing any PIM system. Having an integrated DAM solution allows digital assets to be identified at the same time. Once quantified, the data quality should be assessed.
Identifying and preparing both product information and digital assets simultaneously condenses the timeline. With a single solution for PIM and DAM functionality, no added time is needed to test a third-party interface for compatibility. If the solution has a digital experience platform, the time to deployment can be further reduced.
End users can access stored information while building a digital experience. Each experience becomes part of the overall digital strategy for delivering engaging digital experiences. No added testing is needed to ensure that the DXP is pulling the correct data from the PIM or DAM as the functionality is built-in.
Timelines can be significantly shorter when manufacturers use solutions such as Lumavate that do not require programming skills to implement. Because it is a no-code solution, manufacturers do not have to wait until technical resources become available to complete implementation. Nontechnical users can drag and drop data into templates for delivery in minutes.
How Do You Get Started?
With Lumavate, you can begin with a 14-day free trial and see why Lumavate is often the best choice for a new PIM solution. It offers complete Product Experience Management (PXM) functionality through its platform that includes a Product Information Management (PIM) solution and Digital Asset Management (DAM) functionality. The Digital Experience Platform (DXP), which is part of the PXM platform, builds digital product experiences in minutes. It has text messaging capabilities and a comprehensive form builder solution that integrates into the company’s system of record.
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