Today's businesses are often tempted to invest in the most inexpensive option when it comes to IT solutions.
This is also true of PIM systems; but in reality, you can spend loads of extra money for a PIM solution that pretends to be a standard solution, but really isn’t and will typically need customization to some extent – only to find that a genuine 100% standard PIM system already has all of the essentials that you'll need for efficient multichannel communication, sales and marketing.
Choosing a PIM system is much like choosing your wardrobe. You can invest in a high-quality, timeless and functional basic wardrobe with some lovely accessories, complete with everything you need.
Or you can get all the same items – or even more – for a lower price, but not of the same long lasting quality. Unfortunately, you'll pay thousands every year just to replace your now threadbare t-shirts and the pants that have gone out of fashion. This wardrobe might be customized to your every wish, but it just isn't practical - and in the end, it will end up costing you a lot more than the initial price.
Five crucial questions you need to answer before choosing PIM
What are the benefits of a real standard PIM system?
1. You know precisely what it's going to cost
With a 100% standard PIM system, you not only know precisely what you're getting, you also know exactly how much it's going to cost. If you have to hire developers to make changes in a not-really-standard PIM solution, however, you might find costs skyrocketing out of control as each new feature is added to your bill.
2. The TCO of a real standard PIM system is usually much lower
It bears repeating: The TCO (Total Cost of Ownership) of a 100% standard PIM solution usually is a lot lower than the TCO of a PIM system that needs customizations right from the start and along the way. Remember that any customization will lead to higher implementation costs and higher costs of upgrading to new releases, etc.
3. Fast implementation
If you'd like to get your PIM project started right away, consider this: A pretend-to-be-standard PIM solution can usually not be implemented as fast as a 100% standard solution, because even small customizations needed may lead to longer implementation time. That's a loss of valuable time because the key to successful selling is getting your products to market as fast as possible.
4. Faster and easier updates
PIM systems enable you to update product information immediately, in any language and across all your marketing and distribution channels as well as your in-house departments. If you're using a solution that has been customized, however, those special customizations that were implemented might not work when you update the system.
Likewise, a 100% standard PIM solution will not conflict with new software - but a customized PIM might complicate things. In practical terms, whether you're trying to manage product data in your Microsoft Dynamics ERP system, downloading a product data plugin for SAP or implementing another type of ERP platform, a PIM system that is not 100% standard might not integrate seamlessly with what you're trying to do.
5. Your investment is more future-proof
When it comes to investing in PIM solutions, it's crucial to invest in systems that will operate just as effectively a few years from now as they do today. This longevity is ensured through constant product updates. A pretend-to-be-standard PIM platform, however, is subject to the management - and limitations - of its developers. The customizations you’ve made will likely not work, when your solution is updated to a newer version, and you will have to make the customization all over again.
No matter how tempting a low start-up cost might be, the best PIM system for your business is, realistically, the one that gives you all the essentials plus regular updates and maintenance - all backed by great support and training services. Ultimately, the best PIM system is the one that's not only the most efficient but also provides the lowest TCO for your company.
How do you know if a PIM system is really standard or just pretend-to-be-standard?
This is not so difficult. You must be aware that a 100% standard system will not require any customization at all, while most other systems will need adjustment to some extent. A real 100% standard system is plug-and-play. It does not require any customizing, but is implemented by simple configuration within the standard system.
Your guide to choosing a PIM system
With “Five crucial questions you need to answer before choosing PIM” we guide you through the decision process.