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Latest trends for PIM and why businesses should consider robust PIM systems

digital business intelligence growth
(Image credit: Image Credit: Shutterstock/Sergey Nivens)

Businesses are making great strides in managing the entire length and breadth of their product portfolios. Many are keen on making the most out of the post-pandemic digital transformation rush so as to systematically implement advanced practices which not only optimize but protect their products’ value and presence, lest another disaster strikes. To further this, it is essential to exploit products and their entire data to the best of their ability, and leverage digitally enhanced information management practices. That is where robust Product Information Management (PIM) systems capable of excellent data management, uncomplicated integration of all verticals, reduction in complexity of operations, and automation of repetitive tasks at the enterprise level come into the picture. 

Why businesses should consider robust PIM systems?

Managing the product information of your entire portfolio can be the most daunting task, even with the best set of resources in hand. Business leaders at the helm of decision-making are faced with prioritization challenges. Businesses often struggle with deciding on whether to focus on operational cost-cutting or prioritize on customer demands. 

As ongoing efforts at digitization and automation continues to  augment the economies of scale, here are a few of the trends that are making PIM emerge in a new light:

1) Effortless data import/export

When companies can personalize at scale, they stand in a position to address formidable customer challenges. This calls for designing a system that is capable of processing a wide variety of data. 

A top of the line PIM system should:

  • Seamlessly integrate into the existing information technology (IT) infrastructure
  • Support the transfer of one- and two- dimensional data models
  • Be capable of executing recurring imports of data from external sources through configured mapping
  • Not rely on written code for one-time or recurring imports and predefine locations for newly imported data
  • Be able to extract data from remote HTTP and SFTP locations and configure strategies for their updates
  • Support file formats, including the likes of CSV, XLSX, JSON, and XML
  • Be receptive to import status updates, inclusive of those related to logging information

2) Seamless interoperability

Since a user-friendly interface is critical for enabling non-specialists and non-technical staff to create assets and offers, seamless interoperability is a second litmus test to ascertain whether a PIM system is robust in nature. If a PIM system can be integrated with a range of devices, data can be shared and operated on by stakeholders crucial to the continuity of operations, it can be regarded as a system that allows seamless interoperability. 

An advanced PIM solution is interoperable when:

  • It is driven by robust APIs
  • Provides advanced connectivity among myriad sources of data and systems within the enterprise
  • Seamlessly connects logistics, enterprise, warehouse, and systems like enterprise resource planning (ERP), order management systems (OMS), marketing applications, point of sale (POS) systems, etc.

3) Product content syndication

Product data syndication (PDS) or the ability to prepare and syndicate product details to downstream supply chain partners is an important aspect of a robust PIM system. Retailers and manufacturers need to syndicate data to various channels such as marketplaces, kiosks, smart devices, mobile apps, social media, etc. Since PDS is largely dependent on a PIM system, it is important for decision-makers at the helm of operations to choose a PIM system wisely, one that would fulfill their PDS needs. 

Business leaders pay sufficient heed to content syndication needs as failure to oblige by market standards often leads to penalties. They should always ensure that the PIM solution of choice:

  • Allows merchants to evolve in line with the changing demands of the marketplaces
  • Create unique customer journeys specific to their demands
  • Push the right product data on the right e-marketplace and promote it on corresponding affiliate, advertising, and social media platforms to ensure dynamic user experiences across multiple channels

4) Vetted and validated data 

Data validation is the lifeblood of a robust PIM system. Facilitating a single source of truth (SSOT) for product-related information is a key functionality for any PIM system. Data quality gets seriously hampered when the source of data is incomplete, invalid, ambiguous, or inaccurate. 

A robust PIM system should enable operators to:

  • Set restrictive data types as product information and allow for text format validation
  • Analyze complex product hierarchies via advanced data clean-up, parsing bullets and descriptions, and configuration checks.
  • Optimize product data for omnichannel commerce and to meet the goals of business development.

The solution is only as good as its ability to drive B2B and B2C commerce benefits through a faster time to market (TTM). This can be achieved when the solution of choice:

  • Allows faster onboarding of products through automated workflows
  • Enables clear view of products through a single source of truth  
  • Drives agile delivery through an API architecture in lightning-fast speed and improves productivity scenarios 

It is only a matter of time until innovation in PIM enables advanced solutions to act as a starting point in product management rather than a force multiplier.

In conclusion

While the idea behind deploying PIM systems to ramp up business operations has evolved over the past few years, improving customer experience has consistently served as its central tenet. Most industries have witnessed the use of PIM in functions related to the consolidation of scattered data and the removal of inconsistencies across customer channels. Its prominence today can be mostly seen as a trusted strategic measure to facilitate the adoption of new-age technologies. Ergo, businesses that are not up to date with the technology of the times are seeing PIM as their ticket to transformation. 

Vandana Singal, Director, Solution Consulting, Pimcore Global Services

Vandana Singal, Director, Solution Consulting, Pimcore Global Services