There are various solutions for data management. A more recent representative is the product information management system – a PIM system. This article provides you with a PIM system definition and explains what it is all about.
There are countless data on products, which are essential for companies and customers in e-commerce. This makes it all the more important to keep product information up to date. This applies to all channels of the company. The challenge is to take all relevant product data and all channels into account. A mammoth task, because the data is stored on different systems such as ERP, CRM, CMS and SQL. In addition, each department in the company creates its own data silo. There is a lack of compatibility. There is no central point for all product data. The solution is a PIM system. But what exactly is the PIM System Definition?
PIM System Definition
PIM stands for Product Information Management and refers to the management of product data. A PIM system is used to manage product information centrally via a platform. For this purpose, the system consolidates the available product data. The collected data is stored without media discontinuity and published via the PIM system on different output channels. A PIM system is implemented in the company’s IT infrastructure with the appropriate software. Would you like to learn more about PIM software? Then download our market overview of PIM solutions.
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How does a PIM system work?
In order for the PIM system to become the central point for all product data, it needs access to the existing database systems. This is done via interfaces, so-called APIs. Via these, the input systems such as ERP, CRM, CMS and SQL are connected to the PIM system. In addition, access to image, video and document files as well as manual entries are managed via the interfaces.
Once the PIM system is implemented, it takes over a number of tasks:
- Data maintenance
- Securing and increasing data quality
- Translation management for international channels
- Controlling output for different channels
Data exchange between the PIM system and connected systems can take place in both directions. Thus, the input systems provide the PIM system with the necessary input for data management. The PIM system simultaneously returns updated information to the connected systems.
The PIM system brings together relevant product data, enriches it with further information from the other databases and structures it. It then publishes the information on the company’s output channels, for example different online shops. Data exchange and data maintenance can take place at different intervals. Depending on the need, departments such as marketing and sales can update the data periodically at set times or in real time.
PIM systems in practice
A PIM system enables a company to manage information about its products for all relevant channels and target groups. And it does so continuously without much effort. For suppliers, this means electronic catalogues. In e-commerce, the PIM system centrally provides the content for online shops and websites without forgetting a marketplace. For online and print product catalogues, the PIM system quickly provides marketing departments with comprehensive and complete data relevant to the customer. In addition, sales can use the PIM system to develop new assortment strategies and reduce shadow assortments. Product documentation is also one of the application fields of a PIM system.
PIM, DAM and MAM
But why does it have to be a PIM system for product data management? After all, well-known systems in e-commerce are already DAM and MAM. As is so often the case, the decisive difference between the systems lies in the details.
DAM stands for Digital Asset Management. Unlike a PIM system, a DAM system manages digital content even without a specific product reference. This can be documents, images, metadata and presentations. A PIM system is primarily distinguished by its focus on product information. A MAM – Media Asset Management – is a highly specialized data management system. The reason: only digital media content (videos, photos and audio files) is maintained here.While a MAM only considers media files, a DAM can additionally include other documents such as PDFs and data sheets.
In both cases, product information management (PIM) is distinguished from DAM and MAM by its strict product reference. Unlike DAM and MAM, a PIM system manages only product-related data – but in a wide variety of formats. Therefore, PIM systems usually have DAM and MAM functionalities.
When does a PIM system make sense?
Many companies ask themselves when it is worth implementing a PIM system. In a nutshell: As soon as companies use multiple output channels with product information, it makes sense to work with a PIM system. In this way, the departments maintain an overview and do not overlook any output channel. In addition, an extensive and/or growing product inventory speaks for a PIM system. Frequent updates are also a decisive factor for the use of PIM software. But heterogeneous IT infrastructures and the desire for more compatibility and leaner processes can also make a PIM system necessary. A no less important aspect is internationalization. If a company or its major customers expand, new database standards are often the result. The company can then use a PIM system to avoid problems in data exchange. At the same time, the translation capabilities of the PIM software help to provide product information automatically in different languages.
What are the advantages of a PIM system?
First and foremost: time savings and data quality. Through consolidation, the PIM system acts as a “single source of truth”. In this way, the PIM system sustainably ensures data quality. The central and media-neutral data storage also ensures that additional work steps are eliminated. At the same time, the system enables authorized employees to access the required data regardless of location and time, and the translation service makes it easy to use international channels.