How to Prepare for a Product Information Management (PIM) Initiative

One of the top questions we get when approached by brand manufacturers, retailers or distributors is: How do I begin the process of a Product Information Management (PIM) initiative?

Product content is one of your company’s most valuable assets. You know this. That’s why you’re here. No doubt, the lost potential and mishandling of content is a daily frustration. Even more frustrating is the fact that there are tools and techniques that can dramatically improve the way you manage and leverage these assets. Yet your company is lagging behind. For those passionate – or even curious – about change, but have questions about getting started, we’ve created a First Steps Guide to prepare for a PIM initiative.

Quantifying Product Information Management

A common roadblock in the PIM journey is changing the minds of those who have yet to recognize the potential of PIM for advancing your business.

Working with PIM and Master Data Management (MDM) experts upfront can help answer questions about calculating return on investment.

For example, some results our PIM and MDM customers have achieved include:

  • Cutting six months and six figures from the production cycle of a 1,400-page catalog. Plus, a two percent increase in sales and four percent increase in gross margins over the first six months.
  • Storing, managing, and publishing product information 25 to 30 percent faster than pulling data from source documents.
  • Capturing $17 million in additional revenue with a real-time MDM-based pricing portal.
  • Realizing an 8-fold gain in productivity, including the ability to produce customized catalogs.

To dive deeper into how PIM translates to profit, check out this webinar on-demand featuring George Lawrie, Principal Analyst at Forrester. In the webinar, Lawrie discusses PIM and practical steps to profit. He also reveals strategies that have driven profits in Business-to-Consumer, and that are creating new waves with leading digitally-forward Business-to-Business brands.

The Journey to PIM Success

First, quantify or qualify your business problems.

The first step to launching any PIM/MDM program is to clearly identify the business processes that are impeded by the lack of a unified view.

Organizations often recognize problems with their product information only after they appear as problems with key business processes. In other words, often the key dominator in process problems is product information problems. Making this connection helps build your business case for correction.

Next, gather participants, champions and sponsors, as well as sources of product data and digital assets.

Continue the process by engaging a small group. Along with high-level support, involve participants who are most affected by the business problems your initiative addresses. In other words, approach those with the most “pain” and diplomatically recruit them as a sponsor or champion of your PIM initiative. While you’ll want to include IT personnel, business decision makers need to be the motive force.

As you gather your team, also start identifying the sources and locations of product data. Include attributes, descriptions, images and content associated with the data.

Overall, you must construct a crystal clear picture of the scope of your product content, backed by a motivated team of business decision makers.

Create a data quality framework.

Remember, you must have clean, standardized, rationalized, and normalized data as you start your PIM initiative. As the person closest to the issues at hand, you likely know the data and requirements best. Create a data quality framework to prepare your data now.

Finally, audit and follow up with a Data Governance Council.

After you identify metrics, pull a sample of your data for a data quality assessment. This determines where data fails to meet quality standards. And, assesses the level of work that needs to be done in advance.

Finally, as your PIM initiative moves forward, establish a Data Governance Council to ensure data quality, completeness and consistency throughout the enterprise. While many immediately think “executive oversight,” ultimately you should tailor the council to meet your company’s needs. Give the council time to grow and develop, just as your PIM initiative does.

Moving Forward

Are you considering a PIM/MDM solution? If so, we hope you’ll reach out to us and let us know where we can help. No matter where you are in your journey, we invite you to download Preparing for PIM: First Steps to Getting Ready for Your PIM or Product MDM Initiative” for more insights.

Contact us to chat about your company, product information challenges, and to discuss whether our PIM, MDM and multi-channel publishing solutions would help address your issues and opportunities.

Kerry Young

Kerry Young

Kerry Young joined EnterWorks in 2006 when Ennovative, Inc., the multi-channel publishing software company he co-founded, was acquired by EnterWorks. He directs EnterWorks’ operations and leads EnterWorks’ professional services and consulting organization, ensuring effective customer implementations and ongoing success. Mr. Young brings more than 25 years of technology and business management experience to EnterWorks, having served as CTO for a subsidiary of the Dow Chemical Company, and earlier as VP, Information Technology for Marshall Industries, a $1.7 billion industrial electronics distributor. He previously managed information systems for a subsidiary of McDonnell Douglas Corporation. Mr. Young holds a B.S. degree in Computer Science from Cal Poly, San Luis Obispo and an M.B.A. from California State University Fullerton.