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September 1, 2020

4 Steps to Prepare for a PIM Implementation

4
Minute Read

If your organization is implementing a PIM system in the near future, hopefully, all the pre-work associated with a PIM implementation process is well underway. These four steps can help the process go smoothly.

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If you haven’t considered implementing a Product Information Management (PIM), it might be time. In today’s user experience-driven economy, every touchpoint is important. Regardless of which channel a customer may be using, you want their experience to be flawless. PIM helps businesses manage product data so that you can sell through all distribution channels, like print catalogs, social media, mobile apps, websites, points of sale, and more.

In fact, the Salesforce State of the Connected Customer Report noted that nearly 70% percent of B2B buyers now expect an Amazon-like experience. 67% have completely changed vendors in order to ensure that they have that experience. 

Graphics-B2B-Buyer-Expectations

If your organization is implementing a PIM system in the near future, hopefully, all the pre-work associated with a PIM implementation process is well underway. If not, integration may take longer than planned and unduly stress the business teams.

These four planning steps pave the way for efficient PIM system implementations. They also encourage high use post-implementation. High use, believe it or not, can affect the quality of cross-channel customer experiences, and consequently, business goals.

Let’s break down the four steps. 

4 Key Steps for Successful PIM Implementation

Graphics:4 Key Steps for Successful PIM Implementation

1. Data Reconciliation

Baseline the business architecture by evaluating all the available data points for every product in the catalog. It’s common for organizations without a PIM solution to have multiple instances for each data type (e.g. product descriptions), and various data sources. So the work of reconciliation, while an arduous task, is critical if you want to manage products successfully. 

When complete, what should remain is one source of product truth and a clean business architecture that can ensure consistency and streamline data management. 

2. Unifying the Product Information Process

Building an application architecture in parallel is key. It can take weeks to months, depending on the catalog size, to identify all the applications enriching product data. 

This includes evaluating not only internal, proprietary feeds but also third-party APIs that are enriching product data. 

This phase should result in some clarity regarding:

  • How each application should provide product attributes to the PIM
  • What structure is needed to do so effectively
  • The frequency with which the data needs to be provided

This may require agreement by contract with each third-party involved.

3. Data Modeling

With an application architecture and business architecture, it’s possible to model data flows (physically and logically) to meet all stakeholder needs. 

Logical modeling builds relationships between products in the catalog. Some products, for example, may only interoperate with five other products in the catalog, or some may only be sold in packages of individual units. 

Physical modeling creates structure. For example, mobile experiences may require a short version of some data points (e.g. shorter descriptions for mobile or translated experiences), and thus necessitate shorter character lengths.

4. Review and Retire

Finally, it’s important to build out a current (as-is) and future (to-be) technical architecture. With all the consolidation of multiple systems, it may be possible to retire some applications.

 Efficiency is just one of the many spillover benefits of implementing a PIM system.

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Wrapping It Up

If you’re thinking about a PIM integration, be sure all stakeholders are ready to take part and that content-related homework is complete ahead of actual data integration. 

If your teams are not ready, or could use some assistance with content readiness or PIM integration, reach to the team at Object Edge. We make it easy.

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