How to convince your boss of a PIM project!

Product Information Management

At some point, every manufacturing company reaches the point where the collection, management, maintenance, enrichment and distribution of product data becomes so time-consuming that the use of a Product Information Management system (PIM system) starts to make sense. With the complexity of today’s digital commerce, this point in time is now coming earlier and earlier – and yet many decision-makers shy away from starting a PIM project.

If you want to sell in e-commerce, your product must be attractive at first sight. But preparing product data convincingly can cost time and nerves. Especially when the manual effort is too great. High time to switch to a PIM system. But how do you convince your boss of a PIM system? We’ll tell you. But first, let’s start from the beginning, with the objections. They usually read like this or something similar:

  • We don’t have a budget for new software.
  • Such an implementation project ties up too many internal resources.
  • What we need can also be solved with Excel or the product catalog of the store system.

Sound familiar? Then you also know that the objections are countered by a whole host of problems and inefficiencies that a PIM can eliminate. Situation briefing coming up. So the first task is to describe the current situation as accurately as possible, making it clear that future challenges will only exacerbate the current situation:

  • High manual effort
    Without a PIM system, those responsible have to maintain data manually and prepare it for playout in a channel-specific manner. The effort behind this is not only enormous – the error-proneness of these processes is also very high. In addition, there is hardly any time left to tackle more valuable, strategic tasks.
  • Problems with data quality
    The product data of your articles must emphasize your quality and use the full potential. Errors are inevitable with manual quality inspections. If, on the other hand, PIM systems are used, they support compliance with data quality specifications through validation rules and automated checking workflows, so that product data is not only already procured and created in optimal quality, but also enriched according to the requirements of retailers, output channels and other recipients.
  • Ineffective product communication
    Today, the use of different communication channels is more important than ever – and with new sales opportunities such as social commerce, the complexity is increasing all the time. Those who try to solve this challenge without a PIM system are working ineffectively, with delayed time-to-market and little flexibility in communication.
  • Distributed product data
    Without a central PIM system, product data is often scattered throughout the company in different sources that need to be merged. This quickly leads to redundancies and outdated data records. It also makes teamwork more difficult.

It all sounds plausible. But even if these reasons are convincing, you need the right answers to the objections of the decision-makers mentioned at the beginning to take the wind out of their sails:

“We don’t have a budget for new software.”
Thanks to modern software-as-a-service solutions, the procurement of new systems no longer involves the high investment sums of the on-premises era. In addition, there are enormous differences between the providers in terms of price and functionality, so that there is a suitable offer for every need. The additional costs for manual data management and maintenance, error corrections, and redundant data storage must be added to the equation.

“Such an implementation project ties up too many internal resources.”
SaaS solutions also show their strength during implementation. Compared to on-premises installations, the implementation and system integration of SaaS solutions involves much less effort and cost. Nevertheless, the involvement of internal resources cannot be completely avoided – they provide essential input for requirements definition, testing and the integration of the new system into the processes. However, the internal effort can be reduced to a minimum by involving an integration partner, and as a rule – especially when internal integration expertise is lacking – implementation and integration by an expert is important for effective use of the new PIM system.

“What we need can be solved just fine with Excel or the store system’s product catalog.”
In fact, product data is still very often managed in Excel spreadsheets and shared between suppliers and retailers. But neither spreadsheet programs nor the product catalog of a store system can replace a PIM solution, because PIM systems are created specifically for these tasks. Besides the many manual tasks involved in using Excel & Co, these “alternatives” lack PIM-specific functional areas:

  • Data Onboarding
    A solid PIM system integrates product data from all possible source systems – whether Excel spreadsheet, supplier connection or ERP – and makes it available centrally and in the right format in a single source of truth. You can therefore start enriching data right away and not waste time cleaning data before you really get started.
  • Enrichment of Product Content
    To create effective product content, the product data must be enriched with the right marketing texts, images and videos. A modern PIM system also makes this task easier with automations and seamless integration with complementary systems such as digital asset management.
  • Translation & Localization
    Personalization is an important element for effective product communication. It also opens up new sales regions. In order to be able to play out context-dependent product content, the product information must be translated accordingly into the correct national languages and adapted to local guidelines and rules. Modern PIM systems can automate this with the help of artificial intelligence and do without external service providers for translations.
  • Ensure Data Quality
    PIM systems support the establishment of and compliance with strong data governance and ensure that product data is available in the right quality – starting with onboarding, i.e., the procurement of master data.
  • Syndication of Product Data
    Each sales channel has its own rules of the game as to how product information should be provided. In order to create a consistent product experience in all relevant communication channels, modern PIM solutions have product content syndication functions that can be used to play out product messages in a targeted and context-dependent manner in all output channels at the touch of a button. This shortens time-to-market and ensures efficient brand building for all target groups simultaneously.
  • New sales channels at the click of a mouse
    In a PIM system, all the data needed for product communication is available in a media-neutral form. Therefore, it is a piece of cake for a PIM to record each channel correctly according to the specifications. And because a PIM can serve any channel, a PIM system can also be used to try out new sales channels simply at the click of a mouse. Potential sales channels can therefore be tested for their profitability with a PIM without any effort.

Why now is the right time for a PIM system

In fact, the time has never been better to address the topic of PIM. The industry-wide shortage of resources is pushing companies to become more efficient internally, to optimize tasks and workflows to the greatest extent possible, and to use existing resources in a more targeted manner. At the same time, regulatory requirements are increasing the pressure to manage more and more data – for example, sustainability information – and to make it available transparently. And from the digital commerce side, too, there is a growing expectation to communicate ever more flexibly, ever faster, and ever more diversified. The volume and speed of data required for this has long since become unmanageable.

Need more help with your PIM argument? Feel free to contact us!

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