Production, bookkeeping, staff management, digital marketing, R&D, and so on– there are many different activities that a business has to perform. These tasks are further layered within. Hence, balancing all of this at once becomes a difficult task. An online business has to efficiently manage all these tasks along with staying competitive. The same is difficult to achieve with traditional methods. Therefore, a certain degree of automation is necessary. That being said, today we’re going to talk about product information management software.
Product information management is yet another mix of various tasks. It implies management of information needed for marketing and selling products through distribution channels. This is done so that relevant, accurate, complete product information could be delivered consistently to any customer touchpoint. Such information includes product specifications, technical specifications, sales statements, product lifecycle information, product metadata information– collected from almost every department of a company.
Hence, product information management is an important function of ecommerce. Therefore, it’s important to make sure it is done efficiently. And for that, one needs to find the right PIM software for their business.
How to choose PIM software solution for your business
Before settling for a PIM software solution, there are a few things you need to consider-
– People who will use the tool
Who is going to use the tool should be one of the primary concerns while selecting a PIM software tool. There are basically three things to consider—number of users, types of users, and skillsets of users.
- Many PIM software providers charge according to the number of users. Hence, it is crucial to determine how many people in your enterprise are going to access the tool. Moreover, you should also have an estimate of how the number of users may increase/decrease based on your plans for future.
- The types of the users imply– manufacturers, suppliers, sales managers, content managers etc. Therefore, it is important to look out for role based access rights in PIM software. Moreover, if you are going to invite collaborators that are external to your organization, you need to make sure that your PIM software ensures data security.
- Although, no matter what PIM software you choose, you will need to train your teams on how to use the tool. However, it is important to take into consideration the technical skills of the people who are going to use the tool. What is the existing technical skill of your users? How much up-skilling do they need? What is the complexity level of the PIM solution? What’d be the learning curve? These are some the important questions on which answers’ your decision of PIM software should be based upon.
– Your management functionality requirements
This is another very important factor while choosing the right PIM solution. What are the functionality requirements of your product information management? Consider this in the light following light:
- Data onboarding is a fundamental aspect of PIM system. Most of the data that is recorded in such system comes from vendors and suppliers. Such data can usually be quite cumbrous and tedious—given multi-level verifications, differing formats, and compliance checks for standards and regulations, and so on. Therefore, understand your data onboarding requirements and choose a solution accordingly.
- Moreover, different types of PIM solution providers specialise in different quality control. See how your tool options highlight discrepancies, fix format errors, and maintain data quality. Then compare it with your quality requirements to find out what option suits you the best.
- You must know how significant a role the visual aspects of a product play in digital marketing. Hence, the digital asset management capability becomes another important factor. Some products require multimedia content (images, video, etc.). So, if your business deals in such products, you should make sure that your PIM solution can efficiently maintain rich media.
- Indeed PIM should be the central hub of product data. However, it can’t work in isolation. It needs to interact with different systems like ERPs, CRMs, logistics, accounting and invoicing systems etc. Therefore, examining the integration functions of the system becomes another crucial step.
- This is how it fundamentally works with marketing. Businesses continually strive to improve their products. The changes in product naturally impact how the product information and data is handled. Therefore, it is crucial to look for a flexible PIM solution and allows customization facilities which resonate with your requirements.
– Data distribution challenges
The product information stored in PIM systems are further disseminated to multiple systems. Different businesses have different data distribution requirements and challenges. Hence, their software requirements differ accordingly.
- What are your downstream integration requirements? This is one important question to consider. A PIM being at the centre needs a sound downstream channel. At the same time, it needs to maintain some degree of control over the access. So, if your PIM requires too many downstream integrations, its best to go for solutions that provide sophisticated APIs for outside organisation downward channels.
- Moreover, if your business has a vast product information distribution system, you may end up wasting a lot of your time supplying that info manually. In that case, you might need some automation. So, this is another thing to take a note of.
- The geographies your business deals in impacts your product data management. If your product sells in different regions, you’d require catalogues written in different languages accordingly. In such case, you PIM solution should come with multi-language support.
- Your solution should also be able to produce print media for your product if offline marketing is a significant part of your business. So, settle for software that efficiently caters to all your needs in this regard.
– Maintenance & Scalability
Your PIM software solution is one decision that has a long term effect. Even to find out whether or not a solution is right for your product data management requirements, you’d have to use it for a considerable amount of time. Therefore, checking its maintenance and scalability is another important thing to do.
- How a PIM fixes bugs, works upgrades, provide support services, etc. are some important questions you’ll have to the find answer to.
- Scalability varies in different PIM solutions in the terms of details and pricing. Therefore, this is another thing to take care of while making such software purchase decision. So, buy a solution with a pricing model that sits best with the size, nature and the future growth plans of your business.
How a company manages its product information greatly impacts its overall business. It affects different systems within your organization like digital marketing, finances, supplier relationships and so one. Therefore, it is important to have an extensive understanding of your product information management software requirements and choose a solution that solves your problems best.
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