The PIM (Product Information Management) system is a tool that should stay at the highest level and adapt to your needs at the same time. The range of choices among products on the market that can take care of your product information is wide. The question is: what should you look for? What should you pay attention at and what features to consider when choosing a PIM system? Which of them will not only meet the market requirements but also adapt to your future needs? What should you choose to make your team benefit from it? In this article you can find out the answers to the questions stated above.
Flexibility of PIM
The PIM tools are systems that are in the middle. They are placed not only between different systems but also between you and the product. You have to make sure that the chosen system will meet your expectations and will integrate with all the other tools you use. The most important thing is whether the PIM system interacts with current and future information sources as well as with destinations. It must cooperate with the internal ERP system and the product information system of your suppliers, online stores, mobile applications, POS systems and catalog printing. If you do not receive these functions from the PIM system, you are wasting your time with it. Connectors that ensure interoperability are the key issue.
Adjusting the PIM system must remain not only comfortable but also flexible for longer time. Every home system must follow the development of your e-commerce business. The product information can not lose the compatibility when the modifications are implemented, otherwise the entire ecosystem will suffer from it. Choosing a modern and a popular solution will let you create a stable and ready for development network.
The product information management system will be operated by many users at various levels. Its interface must be operative and it will be similar to the operating system. Thanks to this you will not even notice its proper operation what means that it fulfils its role as a useful and modern tool. The amount of product data may be overwhelming. The right system must simplify the work on the product information to the level on which the new user will find himself without problems, whether through the proper guidance or through an intuitive interface. If you feel that you need a separate tool to manage different product data projects, it means that the PIM system has failed.
Not only does the interface’s affordability have an effect. Many processes in creating the product information are repeatable. You need a tool that removes the burden of repetition from your shoulders and automates certain tasks and processes. The appropriate PIM system will do a part of your work for you. Time that you find thanks to that you can use for development activities instead of doing a tedious and repetitive actions.
A good PIM system will allow a proper degree of personalisation. If there are complex trade organisation processes in your company, the product information tool must match your style of cooperation with customers and suppliers.
Depending on whether you operate in your data center or in the cloud, the PIM tool must be effective in both cases. There are three styles of product information management. On-premises is a situation in which the company maintains all the applications on its own severs. It is responsible for maintaining the basic infrastructure. It allows control and flexibility but requires a large amount of IT resources. PaaS (Platform-as-a-Service) is a solution that uses third-party services. The organisation that is implementing the system maintains applications but it’s the external company who takes care of the basic infrastructure. Thanks to this it gives a high level of customisation and does not require an intensive IT support for basic tasks. The third style is SaaS (Software-as-a-Service) in which everything, from the application implementation to its maintenance, is made by the original supplier. This solution requires a compromise on flexibility but it provides ease of use.
Open source and solutions reserved
If you constantly plan to adapt your PIM system to new tools by adding new functionalities or modifying existing ones, then Open Source is the solution for you. It provides the possibility of free access to source code resources and its modifications. It gives almost maximum amount of flexibility but requires programming skills. On the other hand, when the proprietary solution proves to be sufficient, the need to modify it will be unnecessary.
Open Source shows its advantages in terms of interoperability. In the case of larger and more popular sales systems, ERP or catalog printing tools, PIM systems have their own connectors. The situation changes when you use highly individualised or niche tools. You are then forced to build connectors on your own and make the integration between systems. Access to the source code can be beneficial.
The PIM systems in Open Source are extensive and very helpful in integrating and using open access. They have programmers and educational resources that are valuable in adapting the code. Suppliers of proprietary solutions rely on a purely commercial relationship.
The costs of maintaining the large PIM system with Open Source may seem big. You must have a team that will adjust the project information management tool to your needs. However, an insufficient tool closed in the face of integration restrictions leaves no choice but to change supplier. It also connects the costs and increase in operating fees of the PIM system.
Specific Akeneo Solutions
One of the tools available on the market is Akeneo. It’s a product information management tool with an open code and an extensive community. It has numerous integrations between sales channels and multiple internal systems. They cooperate with companies such as Sephora, Auchan, Jabra and Shop.com.
The next tool worth mentioning is Pimcore. Like Akeneo, it offers an open code that allows to adjust their product to suit your needs. Nevertheless, they are constantly working on improving the quality of service by creating consolidation of key applications and eliminating complex integration. They offer implementations as well as business and technological consultations. Pimcore offers a tool for managing the product information as well as user experiences. In this way it covers two important aspects of online activities in the field of trade.
Choosing the right tool is an important decision in the life of an e-commerce company. However, stating the right questions and visualising your needs will help you choose between multiple products on the market. If you are worried of having too little experience (or vice versa), then a vast and complicated internal system makes it possible to choose one specific product so Open Source can be a salvation. It leaves a margin of error and a field for modification. It is also more flexible solution with which you can calmly look into the future.