Five arguments against a PIM system
– and why they only tell half the story
The challenge of data maintenance is widely known in any company where product data plays a decisive role in their business model. High maintenance costs and tied-up resources (both human and financial) are inevitable when maintaining product data manually. What’s more, smart tools are needed to manage the data in an up-to-date, correct, complete and consistent manner.
The introduction of a Product Information Management (PIM) system is therefore essential. However, the “drivers of digitalization” in any company will face skeptics who cling to existing structures. Here you’ll find the five arguments mentioned most frequently in any discussion about the implementation of a PIM – and how they can be easily countered, with concrete examples for each one
1) A PIM system is far too expensive
Every company considering a PIM system will probably have to face the cost issue. Of course, some of these concerns are justified – but cost considerations are often out of date. Anyone who thinks that by introducing a PIM system they’ll have to invest at least €500,000 to future-proof themselves with a “proper” solution is definitely wrong. Cloud providers, for example, have brought solutions to market that are available fully configured and ready-to-use for €70,000.
Of course, the implementation costs cannot be denied – introducing a new system always involves a certain amount of effort. However, this is also your ticket to working efficiently with consistent product data.
From inefficient “data search” to efficient “data use”: While many departments are often occupied for long periods of time with localizing the required data, comparing it with other information if necessary, or having it translated (in an international environment), a PIM system enables resources to be used more efficiently. It paves the way from heterogeneous data (and the associated high costs of process and correction) to efficient data management with good data quality and increased traffic.
In particular, the function of the PIM system as a single “source of truth” should not be underestimated here. When carefully maintained, the system creates a uniform database that’s worth its weight in gold when working with product information.
There’s a lot of potential in your product data – it’s up to you to use it. Therefore, the question shouldn’t be how expensive it is to introduce a PIM system, but rather how much it costs you not to have one in use.
2) The cost of consulting and implementation is too high
This objection may seem justified at first, but on closer inspection it can quickly be classified as ‘situation-dependent’. Cloud options, for example, are preconfigured –upload your data and you’re basically ready to go. If you have to face the argument of high implementation efforts, consider the following: How much effort do you spend today to keep your product data at a high level of quality? What can you manage with your current capacities, and where might you have already reached your limits?
With a PIM system that’s individually adapted to your processes and requirements, you can save valuable time. The automation of the system releases resources that you can use in other areas, such as development initiatives.
Are you unsure how much project effort will be required, or whether your processes are already adapted optimally to your requirements? Get a strong partner at your side in the form of implementation experts who can realistically assess precisely these issues and support you in your PIM project, thanks to years of implementation experience.
3) Implementation takes far too long
“We’d have to adapt our entire infrastructure for a PIM, and the benefits will certainly not be felt for another five years.” This statement or similar is often made by PIM skeptics in the initiation phase. But is that really the case?
Of course, there are companies that scrutinize all processes very carefully for a long time before even considering the introduction of a PIM. But how about taking an agile approach? It offers the opportunity for flexibility, successes are quickly visible and within a few weeks you’ll be ready to take the next steps in the digitization project. Adjustments can be made as required, and adapted to your own needs (which, incidentally, cannot be regarded as being set in stone for years to come) during ongoing operations.
4) The project is far too complicated
The decision to implement a PIM system doesn’t just concern a few people or a single department, but has a wide impact within the company (and sometimes externally too). In part, it’s also a question of moving beyond the “we’ve always done it this way” mindset. With a PIM system, it’s not only the software that changes. Above all, the business processes change. It inevitably leads to the fact that internal processes and behavior patterns have to be rethought and, if necessary, restructured.
The introduction or upgrade of a PIM system is the beginning of a process to achieve efficiency gains and remain sustainable in the long term. This phase involves significant effort, and certainly doesn’t always go smoothly. However, once you get past the point of not clinging to what already exists, and become open to new opportunities, everyone involved will realize that valuable synergies can be exploited.
It’s important to divide the project into different sub-projects and start small. During the first stage, dedicate yourself to a concrete topic that represents a real pain point in the company. In this way, you’ll not only reach “flying altitude” quickly with the new system and be able to demonstrate initial successes, but will also give those involved real added value, which will point the way forward for further steps in the PIM project.
5) The training costs are too high for us
A new tool, new structures and new processes: The implementation of a PIM system has a lot to do with change management, and it’s important to proactively involve employees in the change processes. Involvement begins early on in the project with the needs analysis, and it definitely doesn’t end with successful implementation. Questions quickly arise as to who will take care of the training of the employees. In most cases, the resources to prepare the documents aren’t available, and neither is the internal know-how needed to set up an appropriate training program. At this point, it’s also important to involve all departments or companies in order to create a uniform knowledge base on which to build.
But be honest: What would be the alternative? A PIM system is standard today – if you want to become (or remain) future-proof and competitive, you definitely shouldn’t cut corners at this point. This doesn’t mean that the training of your employees has to be done in-house however: Consulting companies, for example, offer standardized methods and innovative training concepts, so internal training capacity isn’t tied up.
Increase your turnover, reduce costs and minimize risks!
The introduction of a PIM system means more than just the implementation of yet more software. It’s a strategic decision that, in the short term, involves many different efforts and expenses. However, for those who have not yet jumped on the bandwagon, it’s high time to address the PIM issue in order to remain competitive.
The advantages are obvious: Increase your turnover, reduce costs and minimize risks! But don’t forget the core of the project – your employees. Far too often the focus is on the technology, and not people. From a large number of implementation projects, however, it can be said that 60% of a successful project depends on people. Only then do processes follow, and finally the technology.
Your employees are the key to success on the path to efficient data management. Take them along on the change process and give them a say – even the skeptics. As a strong partner at your side, we’ll gladly support you throughout the entire project (including as a mediator), and together we’ll drive your data management forward so that you remain fit for the future.
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