Mid-Sized and larger companies that have multiple products and multiple sales channels are often overwhelmed keeping their product information organized and up-to-date.
Getting the right and most accurate information to the right users, or published in a timely and cost-effective manner, is almost impossible with a manual or traditional document management system, or even an ERP solution.
This is simply because there is so much information, in various states of development, that even systems with sophisticated versioning can't keep up - especially if the information isn't on the company's network.
Versions, content, media and distribution lists change constantly, and with the underlying IT infrastructure also evolving, promotional, training, customer support, product development, operations and sales functions can all suffer as a result of not having a "single source of truth" about the company's products.
Five crucial questions you need to answer before choosing PIM
What can cause product information chaos in the first place?
In short, the problem is that, for most of these companies, a lot of people get involved in creating product information. It's not just created by Product Managers or Marketing Managers, but also by engineers, salespeople, channel partners, pricing experts, contract administrators, Web designers, case history writers, programmers, suppliers, customer service agents, copywriters, lawyers, R&D, vendor managers, sales assistants, and any of a dozen other job categories.
And with so many people creating so much information, there quickly becomes no single "truth" about the product. You end up with dozens of versions (even, if not especially, with version control) and no one ultimately knows what the "right" answer is. As a result, you end up with inaccurate information, which leads to mistakes:
- Proposals that go out with the wrong prices.
- feature sets that don’t match the brochure.
- Product positioning that misses the market.
- Confusion among customers and partners
- And worst of all: Liability from misrepresentation. This problem also introduces enormous delays in producing sales aids and collateral material because it all has to be found, checked and approved.
And because time is money, cost go up. And because speed-to-market is a critical item for gaining market share, it can cause tremendous losses of sales and profits.
Handle product information in the right systems
The product data problem is most easily visualized when considering a company that sells several hundred, or several thousand, products.
While typical CRM or ERP systems (e.g. Microsoft Dynamics) can handle
- simple pricing,
- feature lists,
- technical drawings,
- and access rights for the various pieces of collateral and the various users,
they lack the horsepower to handle complex Product Information Management needs which might include
- serving e-Commerce systems,
- creating customized proposals or catalogs,
- supporting extensive localization,
- responding to competition raising the bar,
- and the thousands of "pieces" of information that reside in Excel spreadsheets, Word documents, PDFs, videos and on paper that might be anywhere from a PC to third-party server to a file drawer.
This, though, is why real best-of-breed Product Information Management solutions, also known as PIM systems, exist: as an add-on to your ERP system to take the effort, errors and cost out of managing information on hundreds or thousands of products, for dozens, hundreds, thousands or even millions of users.
A PIM system ensures accurate information 24/7
Product Information Management systems, like e.g. Perfion, which are basically an add-on to ERP systems, solve these problems by quickly, easily and inexpensively enabling you to integrate all of your product information into a common database, and making it available to be used effectively.
A PIM system enables companies to quickly get control over all types of product information (even if you have thousands of products), and significantly improve performance.
These are just a number of the benefits that a Product Information Management (PIM) system provides:
- Access to all up-to-date information from one single place
All product information is created, managed and updated in the PIM system – which means that all people in your company always have up-to-date product data at their fingertips.
- Consistent product information in all your channels
Changes made to product information in the PIM system will immediately be reflected on your website, in webshops, portals, apps, catalog files, pricelists, data sheets, etc., because a PIM system integrates seamlessly with all sales and marketing channels.
- Significant savings
A PIM system will save you countless hours of work by eliminating time spent on finding, recreating, exposing and reconciling which information is correct. Furthermore you will save on extra costs incurred when providing wrong information to customers. The PIM system frees up your most valuable people for more productive and creative tasks, so they can do what they do best instead of being dragged down by tedious and repetitive tasks.
- Improved Customer Service
With a PIM system as the single source of truth for your product information, you will be able to respond faster and more accurately to customer requests, leading to more satisfied customers, and increased sales. You can even expose information via the Internet to enable customer self-service, to get exactly the information they want when they need it.
- Faster Time to Market
Leveraging all of your product information in a central place will enable all of your people from Marketing, Sales, Design, Development, QA, production, legal, support, partnerships, etc., to work together on up-to-date and perfectly coordinated product information as it changes or becomes available, effectively making it possible to get your products to market faster.
These benefits, in turn, will lead to:
- Higher sales
- Higher market share
- Lower cost, and
- Greater profitability
Get your PIM guide
Download “Five crucial questions you need to answer before choosing PIM”.