Product Information Management
6 Expert Tips for Successfully Selecting the Right PIM
This is what You Need to Look Out for when Selecting a PIM
You’ve made the decision to introduce a PIM system? Congratulations! This decision lays out the foundation for the digitization of your product data processes. This comes with many chances and great potential for your company. However, it’s also a strategic decision which comes with many changes to internal processes. Which is why selecting the right PIM system is crucial. To this end, there’re quite a few things to lookout for: Who is the right provider? What system fits your company profile? How do you find the right software and what requirements are to be met? Questions upon questions which you need to tackle before getting started. In this blog entry, we give you useful tips so that you make the right decision when it comes to finding a suitable PIM system.
Tip 1: Making the Right Decisions with Strategic Foresight
In all your anticipation of finally putting an end to departmentalized and dispersed data aggregates and making a new beginning with digitized and automated data processes, you should always keep in mind that the implementation of a PIM system is an extensive project which requires good planning. After all, you’re planning to run a system with far-reaching functions and which you can, in the best-case scenario, keep for long-term use.
For a sustainable decision, you should take this tip to heart in order to calculate the total package of your project.
Before things get rolling, you can ask yourself the following question: What do we want as a company and what do we need? To answer this question, you should shift your focus to the interest groups and soon-to-be users of your future PIM system.
Tip 2: Determine the Requirements of System Users
Before making a selection list, look around in your company as one of the first steps you take. The reason is that you absolutely need to know who exactly profits from excellent Product Data Management and what requirements you need to meet to realize their full potential.
In the ideal case, you already have a PIM system or a similar system in use which you now wish to replace. You can utilize this as the basis to get input from current users on the requirements thanks to their first-hand experience. With that, you kill two birds with one stone. After all, the people in question will also be from all internal company departments which will later actively work with the system. This is one of the most important interest groups when it comes to establishing the acceptance rate of a new system.
Classic corporate fields which are actively involved in PIM are Marketing, Content Management, and Product Management, as well as IT. In some companies, the Sales team is also on board when it comes to actively working with PIM.
Tip 3: Don’t Forget – Not Only Active Users have Demands about the PIM System
Besides actual users, there’s the company-internal interest group. This delimits the interest group which doesn’t actively work with the system itself, but which still requires data from the system. Our professional experience has shown that this group and its requirements are often times neglected or even forgotten when selecting a PIM provider. This bares high risks for the later project. Since the unknown requirements of this group will eventually translate into missing project milestones for implementation objectives and time management. Once they surface during the implementation project, an increase in costs will inevitably occur. In the worst-case scenario, you will only come to realize this after the project completion and, with that, right in the middle of operations.
This interest group includes employees from fields such as Sales, Retail, and Trade, since they require high-quality and precise product data in all sorts of formats. Additionally, employees from the Help Desk, Support, or Service may also be involved since they can utilize the system to conduct thorough research to answer specific customer questions.
Lastly, there’s also the external interest groups, for example wholesale customers, large retailers, or your company’s foreign branches. Even if these parties don’t have insight into your PIM, it’s nonetheless very useful to know about their needs, problems, and requirements in order to make a well-founded decision for the right PIM provider.
💡 A Comprehensive Overview is Decisive
If you research the requirements of all interest groups involved, you will come close to a perfect map in the form of an exhaustive catalog for your company with which you can put the PIM provider to the test. This will translate into a realistic feeling for the overall scope of the project. If you forget about a specific interest group, it will become very difficult later on for both, yourself and your provider, to objectively assess the full scope in more detail.
Tip 4: Think in Use Cases to Define Your Company’s Requirements in Relation to Product Data
One of the absolute core questions for any successful PIM selection is the following: What does your company need when it comes to product data, information, and content? To this end, it makes more sense to think in use cases rather than functions in order to determine which corporate tasks are required to be covered by your new PIM software. Though, what even is a use case to begin with?
Use cases describe the way the system works from the user’s viewpoint. They describe not so much the function than the processes and the goals the users want to achieve when using the system. It’s about developing an understanding for the interaction between user and system in a comprehensive manner. From this, functional requirements and corresponding test cases can be derived. A good PIM provider must be able to demonstrate to you how to realize your requirements and must already be able to answer many questions concerning your use cases during the selection process. If the provider can do so, this shows that the provider wants to understand the exact position you have found yourself in, in order to plan the project in the best possible manner.
Tip 5: Functions are Only Part of the Story – Focus on Processes which can Support You
Don’t forget: a PIM software is all about its use value. It’s about making your daily business run better and faster in a more secure and simple manner. Your PIM software is there to realize your defined objectives.
If you put your exclusive focus on the PIM system’s functions among available offers, you may miss out on some essential points. After all, the list of functions doesn’t account for your processes which are supposed to be supported by these very functions. Functions alone don’t grant you sufficient insight into the big picture.
The interplay of functions and the processes they support often times remains outside of the scope of analysis in the decision-making process. In the worst-case scenario, you will decide for a PIM software which will find a low acceptance rate among users since it doesn’t provide the relevant use value.
Tip 6: Also Consider the Solutions Your Potential Provider can Offer for the Software Implementation itself
The introduction of a new software poses great challenges to many companies. In the process, you need to make sure how the know-how is distributed among corporate departments and what resources can be provided for the implementation. Can you commit to a self-guided software implementation or do you require expert support? In our blog entry “PIM Implementation: Full-Service Project or Do-it-Yourself?”, we give you a rundown of all pros and cons on the various methods to realize a successful PIM implementation. Keep an eye on both, your potential provider’s service model and software training modules. After all, you want to become your own expert when it comes to your system asap, so that things always run as smooth as possible. Equipped with this advice, there’re no more obstacles separating you from a well-researched decision when it comes to finding your perfect PIM provider.