How to Design a PIM Implementation Plan?
The world of product information is expanding fast. 85% of shoppers say product information and pictures are important to them when deciding which brand or retailer to buy from, according to a Google survey.
If you're responsible for managing product information, you know how important it is to have an effective system in place. But what goes into implementing a successful product information management (PIM) system?
First, you need to understand how product information is typically managed and what are the issues your merchandisers and product information managers face daily in their jobs. Second, you need to explore the potential gaps in the existing system and then consolidate insights from various sources to create a robust and flexible architecture for the PIM system. And then, decide on the core PIM functionalities you need to implement.
These might include the ability to manage diverse product data models, create and streamline product catalogs, and enrich and syndicate product content across multiple channels. Once you know what you need from a PIM system, you can start planning its implementation process.
Sketch your Product Information Management Strategy
A few key considerations to keep in mind when building your PIM strategy:
- Define your goals and objectives— What are you hoping to achieve with your PIM system? Do you want to improve the data quality? Increase efficiency? Reduce costs? Make sure you have a clear understanding of your goals before you begin designing your system.
- Identify your users— Who will be using your PIM system? What are their needs and requirements? Make sure the user interface is designed with your users in mind.
- Choose the suitable data repository— As we mentioned earlier, you can choose between a centralized database or a series of decentralized databases. Consider your organization's size, structure, and needs when making this decision.
- Select the right data migration path— A PIM usually interacts with different systems and performs critical tasks that important for business success. So, you must clearly define how your legacy data will be migrated to the new system for maximum output.
- Consider workflows and functions wisely— Design business processes and editorial workflows as per your business process to clearly map the sequential activities for reduced complexity and greater adoption. You must leverage built-in PIM functions to shorten release time and control the overall project cost.
- Plan for data governance— Data governance is essential for ensuring the quality and accuracy of your product information. Make sure you have a plan in place for managing and regulating your product data and continuously evolving all product data artifacts for operational intelligence.
Pick the Right-fit
There are two main approaches to PIM implementation: centralized and decentralized.
Large organizations with complex product portfolios typically use centralized PIM systems. In a centralized system, all of the organization's product data is stored in a central database. This data is then distributed to the various departments and teams that need it.
Decentralized PIM systems, on the other hand, are more common in smaller organizations. In a decentralized system, each team or department manages its product data. This data is then shared with other departments as needed.
There are pros and cons to both approaches. Centralized PIM systems are more efficient and allow for better data governance. However, they can be more complex to set up and maintain. On the other hand, decentralized PIM systems are simpler to implement and manage, but they can lead to duplicate data and inconsistencies.
The best approach for your organization will depend on your specific needs and goals. Once you've decided on an implementation strategy, you can begin architecting your PIM system.
Focus on Architecture Agility
A product information management system has three main components: the data repository, the application server, and the user interface.
The data repository is where all of the product information is stored. This can be a central database or a series of decentralized databases.
The application server is responsible for managing and processing the product information. This includes tasks such as data cleansing, data enrichment, and data syndication.
The user interface is how users interact with the PIM system. This can be a web-based interface, a desktop application, or a mobile app.
These three components work together to provide users with the ability to access, manage, and update product information. It would be best if you focused on applying best practices and architectural agility that adapt, scale, and evolve to accelerate implementation process.
Emphasis on Priority-Based Integration Pattern
Another critical component of a PIM system is the seamless flow of product information. Hence, a well-integrated PIM system that can consume, transform, and transmit product data in a bidirectional manner, providing a balanced mix of real-time or near-real-time product data.
So, you should evaluate your 3rd party applications early in your PIM implementation journey by identifying the limitations of each system, key data elements and touchpoints.
After identifying the relevant applications and integration points for data flow, you should prioritize applications to integrate with the PIM system based on business values and level of complexity. Finally, you can prioritize PIM integration by assessing the operational needs that are paramount to your business.
Where possible, you must try the API-driven integration method to control the project costs and time to value.
Deploy the Plan of Action
Now that you understand the basics of PIM implementation and architecture, it's time to start deploying your product information management system. Your PIM deployment must focus on the key success matrices of the system:
- Capturing and streamlining product data for consumption.
- Effectively enriching and utilizing the data, including metadata.
- Publishing effortlessly in the desired format across multiple customer touchpoints.
From inception to the final stage, your PIM deployment plan of action should be developed and evolved collaboratively with in-house delivery teams or PIM implementation partner to ensure that overall product information management strategy is understandable, pragmatic, and acknowledged by everyone for desired business outcomes.
A well-engineered and implemented PIM platform will improve business outcomes, increase teams' efficiency, improve customer experience, and unravel new business opportunities.
Keep these considerations in mind when implementing your PIM system, and you'll be well on your way to streamlining product information management for your organization.