Your organization has made the decision to implement a product information management system. The budget is confirmed, the platform has been picked, and you might even have an implementation partner. So, what’s next?
The value of PIM
As you embark on your PIM implementation, it’s important to keep in mind the value that this project will provide your business. On the other side of this implementation, you’ll have a single place to collect, manage, and enrich your product information. A single source of truth for creating product catalogs and distributing product data to marketing, sales, and ecommerce channels.
You’re creating a framework for the management of each piece of data that surrounds the products in your catalog. Things like color, size, weight, item description—it will all be organized into one, streamlined spot. No more shared docs, Excel sheets, or chicken scratch on napkins required.
A PIM platform can simplify the process of creating, maintaining, and using product specs and descriptions for product catalogs—both online and offline. It is a marketer’s dream.
Companies that implement PIM see:
- Increased efficiency and productivity with their workforce
- Improved product data/content accuracy throughout the organization
- Enhance user experience on their website(s)
- Increased sales driving higher return on investments
The days of managing data in multiple spreadsheets (with multiple team members making daily updates) are over. If your business manually maintains your product data, manages thousands of SKUs, or repeatedly finds input errors, outdated information, and repeated data, PIM can become your single source of truth.
What to know about implementing PIM before you start
Before jumping right in and implementing a PIM for your organization, there are a few things to consider.
Prepare your entire organization
Internal alignment is critical to any PIM implementation, just like any other major business solution or platform. Make sure your company is ready to prioritize this project, just as you would with any new CMS or ERP implementation. Often, PIM implementations are more difficult than they need to be because the organization as a whole didn’t make it a priority.
Once you have agreement that your business is ready to implement PIM, make sure management understands the undertaking that is involved. Implementing PIM is an organizational game changer when done right, so it takes time and a focused team.
This will not only change where the source of truth for your marketing data lives but it will change operational processes that have been around for years. This will have a direct effect on workflows, product data approvals, and how your company works as a whole.
It will all be worth it—but it won’t happen overnight. It’s critical to manage those expectations upfront and create mechanisms for tracking incremental ROI throughout the project.
Locate the data
Establish where in the organization your data and content currently live, whether it’s in your ERP, PML, DAM, or a homegrown solution. Identify what shape the data is in and how reliable it is.
Find out who in the organization is responsible for each outstanding piece of data and recruit them to be a part of the project team. The knowledge these folks have will be key to your success. Having them on the team will decrease the likelihood of information getting missed or the model not being designed right.
Determine where you want the data to be displayed
This seems like a simple question but make sure it is clearly outlined by the organization. A couple questions you might want to answer before starting the implementation portion of the project are:
- Will the data be displayed on your website?
- Does the data need to be shared with other partners or distribution channels that sell our products, such as Amazon, Home Depot, or Lowes?
Set realistic goals for your PIM implementation
Understanding the true timeline for implementing PIM is key to a successful project. Before you can get a realistic read on how long your implementation will take, you have to be honest with yourself about the current state of your data.
- What are the goals for this project?
- What primary challenges do you foresee for this project?
- How or where does the data creation process start?
- Where does the data live today?
- How clean is your product data?
- How much cleansing/enriching will need to occur to standardize it?
- What is an acceptable amount of product data needed to launch?
- Do you have any technical concerns or major concurrent IT projects?
- What manual processes will be impacted? Are they documented?
At Ntara, we have seen clients launch their PIM with just core products or even pick a percentage of products to ingest into PIM, enrich, and push live. It’s a fine balance that each business must find that considers how long you’re willing to wait to go live, the percentage of products needed to continue normal business, and the acceptable number of errors and risk that your company wants to take on.
A well-designed PIM can improve time to market, product data accuracy, employee efficiency. It can increase company ROI. PIM is a powerful system that can ensure your product data is being represented correctly throughout all your selling and marketing channels. With realistic goals, the right PIM system, and an experienced implementation partner, PIM can be the platform that takes your organization to the next level.