Getting ready for PIM
Five good tips for preparing a PIM system
Have you realised that your company needs to work in a more structured way with Product Information Management (PIM)? Would you like to tackle the project properly from the start? Based on my experience, I list five areas that you should cover before embarking on the project. If you do so, you and your company will be much better equipped to get the most value out of the project and be able to manage it successfully.
If your company is considering investing in a Product Information Management System, preparation is crucial. In order to be best prepared, there are a number of areas that you should look at and take care of before you start.
1. THE PRODUCT PROCESS
The first step is to create an overview of the product process – from its creation to its end-of-life. It is important to ask yourself:
- Who is responsible for product creation, enrichment, photography and approval?
- How does a product task flow from one person to the next?
- Where are the challenges and bottlenecks?
And don’t be scared off if you realise that you have a process awash in post-its and emails, where certain individuals are the only ones who know how things are actually moved from A to B. Of course, this is not optimal, but it’s not anything that hasn’t been seen before.
Consider which actions you can easily take to improve the process: fewer handovers, more structure, better overview and crosswise knowledge-sharing, to name a few. And remember the old saying: “Half the solution is in recognising the problem”.
The greater the overview you have of the existing process, the better future processes will interact with PIM.
The next step is to look at where your company currently displays product data, and consider what you would like to be able to do in future.
Figure 1. Channel overview
It is important to ask yourself:
- What is the customer’s experience today?
- What experience would you like to create after your PIM has been implemented?
- Are many product details presented?
- Are related products shown?
- What about spare parts?
- Or product recommendations?
All questions are important for configuring PIM to support your specific needs.
3. EXISTING DATA
A good PIM solution is essentially based on good data. Therefore, the third step is to look at all your data.
- In what systems is your product data at present?
- How good is the quality?
- Do you trust all your product data?
- What information is not available today and needs to be added manually?
If the quality is not sufficient, it would make perfect sense to make improvements before you start a PIM project. Otherwise, the PIM will inevitably inherit and display many of the inaccuracies found in your data. All things being equal, this entails a heavier manual process in relation to data control and adjustment.
Alternatively, I recommend that you take a very close look at it after your PIM has been implemented.
4. PRODUCTS, MEDIA AND LANGUAGE
Next, take a closer look at your products and ask yourself:
- How many products do you expect to manage via PIM?
- What is the correlation between categories, product groups, series, modules and sub-components?
Most often, the context above can be set up as a hierarchy, which is often a good exercise for getting an overview, from the product category at the top down to the specific item number you are selling.
In English, product and item are distinct concepts, where an item is the specific physical product that you can hold in your hand (having a barcode number), and a product is normally a product name, combined with a colour and/or size.
Product enrichment has never been more important. Customers want to know everything there is to know and see everything there is to see. But how do you name it correctly? Which images should be prioritised? What about the descriptions? Get all the answers here.
Also consider which product information is important for your customers to have for their purchasing decision.
- Which information is need-to-have?
- Which information is nice-to-have?
- What about language?
- Which images, videos, PDFs are essential for presenting your products in the best way?
- Have you established a standard for image types such as front, left, right, top and environment shots – and in what resolution?
Before you start a PIM project, it is important to manage your internal stakeholders. There is often some confusion about whether PIM is a product system for product people, a marketing system for marketers or a data management system for IT people.
Running a successful PIM project actually requires the involvement of all three groups – before, during and after the project. This means that all three groups must support the idea of prioritising and then successfully implementing the PIM project.
The areas above should give you an overview of the areas your company has good control of and the areas that need some work. I would certainly recommend trying to visualise this for the different stakeholders who will be involved.
The way I normally visualise it is to score the areas from 1-10 and put the result up in a Radar diagram. See the figure below as an example.
(1 = Focus very important; 8 = Focus not important)
Figure 2. Scoreboard
Figure 2. Scoreboard
The closer to the centre the individual point is, the greater need of effort. To make the score background clear, the figure can be supplemented with bullets. For example:
- Mange overdragelser
- Langsom og rigid
- Many sources
- Good data quality
- Slow and rigid
I hope that this has provided inspiration for getting a handle on the preperatory steps that will lead to a successful PIM implementation.
Of course, you are always welcome to contact us if you have any questions or need to discuss your work with PIM. Good luck and all the best for success!
Do you want to know more about PIM?
So get in touch with us, we have many years of experience with Product Information Management and some of Denmark’s most skilled consultants in the field.