Many companies decide to implement a PIM-solution to keep an eye on all of the product information, to streamline data management processes, to launch new products faster, and to create a Single Point of Truth for all product information. Even when there aren't many options, it can be tough to make the right decision since choosing a PIM system for your enterprise is usually a one-time deal.
In this article, we will highlight the essential requirements, or criteria, you should take into account when evaluating a PIM system.
Requirement 1. Configurability
When integrating PIM, you need to take into consideration the goals and characteristics of your enterprise to make the work process more efficient. A configurable PIM system offers an almost limitless variety of ways to structure the information. Even better if you can customize it even further with add-ons and modules. For example, you can configure dealers’ portals, suppliers’ portals, assignment of tasks to employees, manage roles and rights and meetings in the user interface.
A configurable PIM system provides flexible and clear data management. Otherwise, you’ll be forced to stick to the default structure of a system.
Requirement 2. Modularity
PIM-software with a modular structure can meet the strict requirements of a user better and quicker. As mentioned earlier, modules provide greater flexibility in customizing the solution to better fit your needs.
A PIM system should have the option to expand it by using additional modules to suit your particular use case. It should also be possible to code additional features that cannot be covered by standard modules, to satisfy even more challenging individual requirements and needs of an enterprise. By doing that it is possible to increase the system complexity gradually.
Requirement 3. Data control
When you have huge volumes of data, it’s common to run into mistakes and inconsistencies. The likelihood of that raises when you enter the information manually — typos, missing product information, duplicated products, and similar issues. And that’s why the function of data control in a PIM system is one of the key requirements.
There are consistent processes in PIM software to ensure and maintain data quality before data is processed or exported to a distribution channel. A system validates the information, for example, checks whether the mandatory fields are filled and contain the right type of information, or notifies when the translations for some locations are missing. Some PIM systems offer a wide range of such options, and others have only basic ones.
Requirement 4. Automatization
You should choose a PIM tool that will decrease the manual workload and, at the same time, reduce the number of errors in the data processing. PIM systems can help with:
- importing product data
- verifying the completeness of data
- automating the translation of the product information and storing it in several languages
- creating product catalogs and enriching it for specific channels
- checking the quality of uploaded product images and so on.
So when choosing PIM software, verify if it can fulfill your needs in automating business processes during the whole product life cycle.
Requirement 5. User-friendliness
Software should be comprehensible and convenient for everyday use. So, when implementing a new tool, think of the employees who will work with it. Not all of them are tech-savvy and a confusing, difficult to understand interface could hinder data maintenance and lead to mistakes.
Intuitive interface and well-organized cooperation are important for faster work processes, and also make the work much more pleasant. That’s why the quality of the PIM software’s interface is a key requirement, both for personal use and collaboration within a team.
Requirement 6. Multilingualism
When working with international markets or if you intend to in the nearest future, support of multiple languages in PIM software is always preferable. An integrated translation function can help you reduce the time-to-market. Even better if a system can localize the content according to the country you choose. For example, it can adapt not only to the language but also to the currency or measurements. You can make your business available for customers all over the world.
Requirement 7. Flexibility
Your PIM requirements might change over time as your business grows and explores new segments. So choose the software that can be easily adjusted and updated, and it will not cost you a fortune. There are also systems that offer the possibility to additionally program any functions but a better option is when the necessary functions can be acquired quite easily via the installation of additional modules, plugins or extensions.
Requirement 8. Integration options
A lot of enterprises use an ERP, WMS (Warehouse Management System) or both. Thus, a PIM should mandatorily be connected to at least one of these systems, in some cases as the main source of master data.
The integration with an ERP-system is always complex and often requires the data exchange in both directions. That should not be a challenge for PIM software of your choice. Also, the PIM system should help you with the publication of the information to many e-commerce platforms or transfer to your partners.
Through corresponding connectors, the product information can be either imported or exported in the format and in the way convenient for you, to ensure seamless data integration.
Requirement 9. Scalability
Managing more than 100,000 SKUs is different from managing a 1,000 SKUs. A PIM solution should provide scalability without speed loss, especially for enterprises with a constant data increase. That’s why it is wise to inquire about scalability options the providers under consideration offer..
Requirement 10. Performance
With a high-performance PIM system, you can manage all the information fast and efficiently, no matter how many items you have. The system should work like a clock in relation to data entry, publishing, and analysis of the ready product information, especially if there are millions of records in the database.
The choice a PIM system is not an easy one considering how many options there are and how many features each of them offer. It’s worth spending your time evaluating the different PIM systems to select the one that meets the essential criteria. And be sure to discuss them in detail with your future PIM provider to ensure that you’re getting the full value for your money.
Implementing PIM software is a laborious process, and you probably won’t want to do it a second time, so choose carefully. The PIM system should not only meet the current requirements but also be able to support your company's development.