For years now, digital transformation has very much been about a mindset shift. Could you break from the enterprise status quo to embrace the agility, flexibility, and speed of digital natives?
But the time for a mindset shift is long past. Now, you need to be focusing on execution—and that means building a technology stack that will support all of your digital transformation initiatives.
While your ERP (Enterprise Resource Planning) system will play an important role, it has limitations and you have to simplify it if you want to improve agility, flexibility, and overall customer experience.
It may feel counter-intuitive at first but implementing a PIM (Product Information Management) system could be the key to simplifying your ERP.
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Product Information: The Key Difference between ERP and PIM
All too often we see enterprise product leaders mix and match their use of ERP and PIM. You figure if you have an ERP system in place, why would you possibly need an entirely separate system to handle product information?
This may have been the case a decade ago, but times change. When organizing your tech stack for digital transformation, rethink the role ERP plays in product management.
The most important advantage of an ERP system is that it gives you so many product management features in a single platform. You roll inventory/order management, purchase order/supplier management, warehouse and logistics, accounting, CRM, and even product marketing features into one powerhouse solution. What more could you need?
Problems arise with ERP systems when it comes to sharing product information across channels. A siloed ERP system will have visibility across channels but won’t be designed to send product information like descriptions, images, documents, and video links to other aspects of the tech stack like your eCommerce system.
PIM systems, on the other hand, are designed specifically to handle a variety of product information, making it easier to control and maintain consistency when you have multiple channels. ERP systems were great when you were limited to web and catalog sales. But when embracing digital transformation leads to product information across eCommerce, web, catalogs, pricing lists, product sheets, Google Shopping, point-of-sale materials, and more, you need a more specialized solution.
This realization could lead to a string of investments that only serve to over-complicate your technology stack. However, with the right approach, the combination of ERP and PIM can bring efficiency to your tech stack and help you deliver more consistent customer experiences.
3 Scenarios Where PIM Simplifies Your ERP System
Implementing a PIM system won’t give you an inventory management. It won’t give you a CRM. And it won’t give you a product data manager. But what it lacks in all-in-one functionality, it makes up for in its ability to complement ERP systems.
In many cases, adding more systems to your technology stack can be a surefire way to increase complexity. However, when it comes to product information, there are three specific example scenarios in which combining ERP with PIM simplifies your management processes.
Creating New Product Entries
Traditional ERP systems require significant effort when creating new product entries. In the simplest cases, you can import data via Excel files. However, any variations from existing products in the ERP will require additional manual entries. Manually updating ERP fields to support new product entries is time consuming and inefficient. With a PIM system connected, new products can be entered and prepared outside of the ERP before being onboarded into the larger system, saving you time and ultimately cutting costs.
Updating and Modifying Product Information
When you don’t have a specialized PIM system in place, you risk making mistakes when trying to maintain product data consistency. The problem is that ERP systems can’t universally update product data. Instead, you have to manually change fields even if you’re making the same change across one product line. Specialized PIM systems seamlessly and universally update product information to eliminate errors you’d have with an ERP alone.
Finding Product Information
While an ERP system might contain an abundance of product information, it’s not designed to be searchable for granular details. When you need to find specific product information, you can’t afford wasted time sifting through your ERP. And when you can’t find certain information, you might end up polluting the ERP system with duplicate data. Having a specialized PIM system saves you time by surfacing any and all product information you need.
Trying to force an ERP system to handle all of your product information management needs will quickly lead to cumbersome, time-intensive processes. These three scenarios show how PIM systems can free up so much of the time wasted in ERP systems, giving you more freedom to support new business initiatives—and they’re just a few of the ways that a PIM can simplify your ERP.
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If you want to learn more about simplifying ERP with a specialized PIM, download our free guide "6 daily tasks in ERP which become a lot easier with a PIM system".