A question that often comes up in considering investment in a PIM system is whether an off-the-shelf system or a custom solution will best serve one’s needs. However, the choice is not always as either/or as it may seem.
For good reasons, most people start with a standard system, because it has a number of advantages – not least the price – but sometimes you end up having to make a few adjustments.
However, there is every reason to go as far as possible towards a standard solution. The implementation, operation and maintenance costs increase with the degree of customization.
Choosing a PIM system is like choosing a car
One might compare choosing a PIM to buying a new car. Most often, the starting point will be a car with the manufacturer’s standard equipment. The standard solution in this case will be a fully functional car that can run at the speed necessary to bring you safely from A to B. It is the cheapest (and often fully adequate) solution, but then you also have to live with the car as it is. If you decide that you need air-conditioning, leather upholstery and GPS, they will have to be added to the standard model and will cost extra.
“Five crucial questions you need to answer before choosing PIM”
Thus, your need for options will determine the car’s price. If you can change your driving habits and instead find your way using your phone’s GPS app or roll down the window when it gets too hot, you will get away cheaper than you would if the dealer equips the car with the accessories.
You must also consider that an air-conditioning unit needs regular servicing, thus increasing your operating costs.
The standard solution is automatically updated
When it is a matter of a PIM system and not a car, functions such as bug fixes and upgrades are complicated by custom adaptations. While bug fixes will be rolled out automatically to all customers on the standard end of a PIM system, you will have to pay for fixes in your personally customized elements.
While standard solution upgrades are automatic, customization often means that the system cannot be upgraded right away, as the special solution will have to be changed instead.
Finding the balance
At the end of the day, of course, the PIM system must support the specific processes that are actually needed for your particular business. It is basically a question of finding the balance between meeting your specific needs and buying the simplest possible system to do the job.
Thus, we recommend choosing a standard solution dynamic enough to handle the necessary adaptations and allow you to continue using them through subsequent PIM system upgrades.
Download a PIM system selection guide
Standard or custom solution? This is just one of the things you will need to consider in discovering which mode would be better for managing your business’s product information.
In our free whitepaper, “Five crucial questions you need to answer before choosing a PIM system”, we guide you through the decision process.