The use of PIM systems or “Product Information Management software” today, like the process of gathering and managing product content is very fragmented.
Organizational PIM systems are installed or deployed by various departments within companies that manufacture products or retail organizations and each of these departments operate in silos based on what part of the product content they work with.
They each have their own PIM (Product Information Management) systems in place, each have their own data model and collect the product attributes that are relevant to their function. For example, the R&D department of a food manufacturing brand may gather information or data related to ingredients and nutrition but their data model doesn’t include marketing related product content. Similarly, the marketing department may gather data on consumer marketing content, product images, logos, website links but may not have any product content on health and safety. There’s often a lack of insight into product content “as a whole”.
This causes inefficiencies for organizations when accurate information is required instantly. It requires investment of additional time and effort to collect information from each department and piece it together. Today’s retail and digitally driven landscape demands complete, accurate product data and the need to access it from one single location in formats that can be consumed digitally. They need a central data system they can get “ALL” content related to a product – a single trusted source. The other challenge often for retailers is gathering data from the hundreds or thousands of suppliers whose products they carry.
Individually requesting product data from each supplier is no longer practical and the data for each supplier comes from a different source or PIM system which again means, it needs to be pieced together again. In reality, the answer to a strong data gathering process is being able to link everything and have them put their data into a single repository or centralize all efforts. This is where collaboration will be the key to the future and success of having high quality and up to date product information. The answer may not lie a traditional PIM software model but a platform like a PIM software which allows central control of the system, central design of the data model and the ability to invite all the suppliers, contributors or departments to come add their data to this one central system through a collaborative effort.
The power of working together with a well defined standards driven structure that “unifies” the data model and processes ensures the right foundation to start with. It leads to more complete data, better quality product content and creating sustainable long term trusted source for any application that requires and relies on the product content. As the use of PIM or Product Information Management grows as a critical requirement to operate in an omni-channel environment, collaboration will be a key consideration in getting it right.