6 Tips for Choosing a New (This Time Right) PIM Software

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Got your fingers burnt on your first PIM? Here are six essential dos & don'ts about choosing new modern software. 

Common PIM challenges 

In the past five years, I have met tech executives and e-commerce managers disappointed with their PIM platforms. The first experience with Product Information Management (PIM) software can be impaired. There may be many reasons, like slow syncing and loading, limited scalability, or bad UX. 

The Product Information Management software is designed to centralize, enrich and distribute product information across different channels. Clients choose such solutions to support managing rich product content and optimizing it to increase their digital footprint. That’s why a high-quality PIM platform tailored for global businesses should be able to handle rising numbers of SKUs and be customizable for different locations and multiple languages. 

Many of our clients choose the PIM solution because they struggle with the lack of a single reference point for product information across the company’s departments. That’s why PIM becomes a central repository for product information and simplifies data flow with third-party systems via features like a supplier portal. Thanks to that, teams gain one source of truth working with product information. If the PIM platform performs slowly and does not scale, product data is still scattered in different places, and PIM does not fulfill its primary function.

I have reflected on those challenges and would like to share some thoughts. If you want to do it right with PIM this time, choosing a new provider, these guidelines might interest you.

Choosing a new PIM. The dos

#1 Rethink what you need

My first piece of advice is straightforward - before you schedule a demo, do your homework. Make a list of all things that didn't work last time and the key features you're looking for. If you need mainly a central repository for business data scattered in different files and folders, then maybe you need MDM software rather than a PIM (although most PIMs have built-in MDM capabilities). 

Do you want to build a compelling and consistent 360-degree product experience? Then search for PIM providers that support PxM (Product Experience Management) strategy. 

Join the demo meetings with a good list of questions to ask each PIM provider.

#2 Try unlimited power of a cloud

A high-quality PIM system should handle a growing number of SKUs and the amount of increased traffic during sales peaks. That's why scalability is so important, and solutions based on cloud computing can win it and save your commerce website from the breakdown in the middle of Black Friday. 

Ten years ago, companies' standard choices were on-premises Product Information Management solutions running on private servers. This kind of PIM software needed to be updated manually, and it turned out that they have limited scalability. In recent years I have observed on the market that companies started looking for cloud-native, multi-tenant SaaS PIMs because they offer automated updates and unlimited scalability

#3 Connect multiple systems and channels through APIs

Suppose your first bad experience with PIM was slow syncing. Then this time, I recommend diving deeper into the API economy, a business model based around using APIs (application programming interfaces) in the digital economy. Thanks to REST API endpoints, PIM can integrate with other systems and platforms like Magento or ERP with a click!

Keep in mind that the software provider of API-first PIM should offer a complete set of management APIs. It is good to ask does the PIM support open APIs publicly available to software developers. They are lightning-fast APIs for retrieving product content for real-time use.

Choosing a new PIM. The don'ts

#1 Don't lock yourself in a monolith

Monolithic on-premises PIM solutions slowly begin to be displaced by microservices-based (tech giants like Netflix or Uber support this technology). 

In a monolithic application, all functions are managed in one place, as it is built on a single code base. As a result, monoliths are considered easier in development, testing, and deployment. However, implementing even small changes needs deployment of the entire application. Moreover, scaling this "one huge block" over time can be challenging. 

Microservices are unique because they allow upscaling one service without the need for upscaling the other services to remain stable. With PIM software based on microservices, users can seamlessly keep the platform up to date and tailor tech solutions to their business needs. 

#2 Beware of hidden costs 

You probably know there are no set-in-stone pricing plans for PIM solutions because they depend on factors such as organization size, number of users, number of SKUs, or the number of supported languages. 

However, there shouldn't be any additional fees for updates and obtaining access to new features in the software, especially if we are talking about SaaS solutions. Keep it in mind and put these questions on your checklist for the demo meeting. 

#3 Don't choose a fake SaaS PIM

Back to SaaS again, be aware that not every PIM solution offered in Software As A Service (SaaS) model is true SaaS.

Some software providers put their on-premises PIM into a hosting server and name it SaaS. You can identify true SaaS from fake ones just by asking a few questions to PIM software providers. Use these examples:

  • Is your PIM platform a multi-tenant SaaS? (answer should be yes)
  • Is your software cloud-native? (should be yes)
  • How long will it take to integrate your PIM platform with my other systems? (should be fast)
  • How often is the system upgraded? (should be frequent)

Learn more by checking out an article, where we extensively covered this topic. 

Let technology future-proof your business

On-premises and open-source solutions still have their followers, but it's hard not to notice that the composable approach and MACH architecture are growing in popularity among tech leaders. These are new trends that are here to stay. 

PIM systems based on MACH architecture (microservices-based, API-first, cloud-native, headless SaaS) can enable long-term agility, unlimited scalability, customization capabilities, and speed. In the composable approach, PIM is one of the Lego blocks you can merge with other digital commerce solutions you need, like marketplaces or CMS, and sync them on the fly. 

Embracing a composable approach, digitally mature companies have maximum freedom in building their tech stacks and react fast to new trends and rapidly changing markets. 

If you want to know more about MACH technology and the MACH-based product information platform, download a new free ebook by Bluestone PIM.

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