Dispelling 5 Common Product Information Management (PIM) Myths
By Kerry Young on Feb 13, 2020
With the gaining popularity of Product Information Management PIM systems, some misconceptions have emerged about the software. Many are linked to past beliefs that are no longer applicable to the modern age of data management. In an effort to bring about some clarity to the landscape, we’ve lined up five myths about PIM that we’ll knock down one by one.
5 Common Product Information Management (PIM) Myths
Data tracking and management is nothing new. Organizations have prioritized data management for many years. But as the data associated with products has become more robust and (in many cases) unwieldy, new systems have emerged to manage the associated data.
Because modern product data spans multiple touchpoints and relies on business users to work in concert with their data management software, Product Information Management systems were invented. Let’s get started.
Myth #1: PIM is only useful for large enterprises
A common sentiment of many smaller companies is, “We don’t have that many SKUs, so we don’t need a system dedicated solely to managing our product information.” This mode of thinking lingers from a time when each SKU represented only a small amount of data.
With customers requiring more and more data to make buying decisions, the data requirements for each SKU have increased, and in turn, the need to manage that data with software that’s capable of organizing and dispensing it accurately has become essential.
No matter the size of the company or the number of SKUs, without PIM, organizations will have a hard time meeting the demands of modern buyers.
Myth #2: Business users find PIM too challenging
Many professionals in marketing, merchandising, or sales who don’t have experience using PIM software mistakenly think it’s too complex for non-technical users. In reality, PIM is specifically designed to help these teams with rich content management.
While IT is usually involved in PIM to provide assistance, the software was created to be used by those without technical training. It won’t create an obstacle for non-technical members of the organization; it actually enables them to maximize valuable product data with reduced technical support. EnterWorks, for example, has seen 100% business user adoption with our implementations.
Myth #3: A PIM implementation doesn’t require change management
A common thought is that only enterprise software requires change management, and that a nimble solution like PIM can be integrated without any behavioral changes from personnel. This thinking leads to poor integration and minimizing the positive potential of the software.
PIM is a technology solution, but it also requires a change in the attitude of the business users and the processes they use to interact with product data. When an organization adopts change management principles in relation to PIM, it provides the support and guidance the users need to properly adapt. A solution integrator (SI), in many cases, can help guide a company through this process.
Myth #4: PIM is a project with a completion date
Consolidating data into a holistic view and making it easy for users to access it sounds great to teams implementing the software. However, a PIM implementation is not a one-time project or even a series of projects. It’s a shift in the fundamental way an organization creates and manages their product data.
After data is gathered into PIM from disparate sources, the process of managing the data doesn’t stop there. An ongoing and successful PIM system incorporates an entire program of data governance and data quality management. These aspects are essential to maintaining the accurate, valuable data that drives digital commerce.
Companies will also often find extended use cases for their PIM implementation. As other groups in the company hear about the PIM solution, they start lining up to have their business challenges solved. A flexible PIM solution can grow with your company and continue to adapt to solve your evolving business needs.
Myth #5: PIM is interchangeable with PLM or PCM
PLM processes are essential for companies to create, sell, and manage a product from inception to retirement. However, a PLM system does not support crucial areas of product information management such as syndication, publishing, and synchronizing all product content for every channel and market globally. The same challenges apply to PCM tools, which are typically siloed and used to enrich data for websites.
By leveraging PIM or Product MDM, organizations can capture core product data during the entire development of a product, involving both internal users (such as marketing, sales, and support) and external users (such as designers, supply chain partners, distributors, and resellers) to aggregate, enrich, manage, and syndicate high-quality data consistently across all your channels.
The Reality of PIM
Now that we’ve busted some of the top PIM myths, let’s take a look at reality: Properly utilizing the power of PIM is a staple of successful organizations in the digital age. Organizations can make full use of PIM capabilities if they move past the myths associated with it.
To learn more about implementing PIM, download our eBook: Preparing for PIM.
About the author
Kerry Young joined EnterWorks in 2006 when Ennovative, Inc., the multi-channel publishing software company he co-founded, was acquired by EnterWorks. He directs EnterWorks’ operations and leads EnterWorks’ professional services and consulting organization, ensuring effective customer implementations and ongoing success. Mr. Young brings more than 25 years of technology and business management experience to EnterWorks, having served as CTO for a subsidiary of the Dow Chemical Company, and earlier as VP, Information Technology for Marshall Industries, a $1.7 billion industrial electronics distributor. He previously managed information systems for a subsidiary of McDonnell Douglas Corporation. Mr. Young holds a B.S. degree in Computer Science from Cal Poly, San Luis Obispo and an M.B.A. from California State University Fullerton.
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