Introduction of a PIM system in the company – How do experts proceed? 

Anyone who wants to implement a PIM system in their company faces a major challenge. For this reason, companies often turn to the help of a consulting and implementation service provider. Katharina Czerner and Marc Kulow are consultants at the consultancy parsionate and have many years of experience in the implementation of PIM systems. In the following interview, they talk about which companies benefit from a PIM system, how they approach a PIM project and why Change Management plays a key role.
Katharina Czerner

As a Technical Consultant, Katharina Czerner is a fundamental part of a project team and responsible for the technical realisation of PIM solutions. She focuses on designing and implementing processes and workflows as well as integrating systems and additional components. Always with the aim of creating the highest possible added value for the customer.  

Marc Kulow

Marc Kulow is a Principal Consultant and, with more than 15 years of experience, also one of the most experienced consultants in the PIM environment. At parsionate he is responsible for business consulting in the area of Customer Experience and Contentserv projects. His focus is on comprehensive support for customers during the implementation of PIM processes, accompanied by suitable tools. 

How can I tell that my company needs a PIM system?  

Marc Kulow: There is no clear black-and-white division for this. There is no such point as yesterday I didn’t need a PIM system and tomorrow I can no longer exist without one. But there are a few parameters that indicate that the time for a PIM has come:   

One is the complexity of the products. If I only sell white paint, I might not need a PIM system. But do my products have many different features that I need to describe? Do I have hundreds or even thousands of these products on offer? Are my products combinable or sold in sets? Are there different versions of my products, for example for different countries? These are good indicators that I need a PIM system.   

Katharina CzernerMultilingualism is also an important factor. If I change something in the product data in the source language, then I have to keep track of in which target media this content is used. At the latest, this becomes difficult without a PIM system when there are three different languages. Companies eventually reach a point where they create more and more manual work, and the result still gets worse and worse quality.  

What are the effects of this lower data quality? 

Marc Kulow: Customers on the Internet will no longer buy my products because I either haven’t provided the desired information or the information is incorrect. However, customers in B2C will not report this back to me, they will simply not buy or return the items. 

But the same thing happens in the B2B sector. Through Corona, we don’t have any more trade fairs at the moment. Personal contact with customers has become much less frequent, much more business is done via shopping portals. Customers simply click away here if they are not satisfied with the product composition.   

Products with bad
or wrong product information are instantly clicked away.

Katharina Czerner: The more fast-moving products become, the shorter the product cycles are, the more selective customers are in their search for the right product. Products with bad or wrong product information are instantly clicked away. Customers want to find the perfect product. And the flood of information also enables them to be selective. 

What steps are involved when a PIM system is to be implemented in a company? 

Marc Kulow: At the beginning, as a company I have to know where I stand. And I have to know where I want to go. As consultants, we then try to fill the delta between these two states.   

Katharina Czerner: However, the first mistakes often happen when analysing the current state. Many companies have the problem that they cannot determine how good their data quality is because many different departments are involved, which do not necessarily report the whole truth to the management. And even if everything is going well in two individual departments, they can still fail to work together if, for example, products are still on the website but have not been available for sale for two years.   

Marc Kulow: As a company, the next step is to know where I want to go. Companies naturally only know the problems they have today. But if we want to select a system that will be live in a year, then we need at least the problems that the company will have in a year. And even then, it would certainly be outdated by the time the product is launched. I actually need to know: What problems will the company have in three years? So what needs to happen with my data in three years?   

And that’s where we come in as consultants. We know these things through many years of experience and expertise from a wide range of industries. It’s actually our job to know. That is our reason for existence. That’s what we are consultants for. 

What are the most common mistakes companies make when introducing a PIM system? How can these mistakes be avoided? 

It is very important to involve the individual departments right from the start.

Katharina CzernerVery often companies start too late with Change Management. Frequently, the IT department or the management of the company chooses a new tool. It is then bought and the employees are informed that they now have to work with this tool.   

It would be very important to involve the individual departments right from the start. In other words, to get their requirements, their problems and pain points, so that the tool really makes their work easier in the end and offers the department added value. In this way, a higher level of acceptance is achieved in the departments. Otherwise, the PIM system will be perceived as just another gadget from the IT department that nobody uses.   

Marc Kulow: Another mistake, for example, is setting the wrong priorities in the project. The employees always ask us when the system will go live. In the meantime, I ask them: What should actually go live? We want to accompany the companies step by step on their digitisation strategy. And that doesn’t just stop with the implementation of a tool.   

It’s like a trucking company buying 20 trucks and then never wanting to hear anything about trucks again. But trucks also break down sometimes and need to be repaired. At some point you need new trucks, maybe longer ones or even a few small trucks. In the same way, the topic of digitalisation and PIM is never finished. The story of digitalisation is not finished, so a PIM can never be finished either.  

Clients often want to tackle all topics at the same time. Then, after the project time has passed, 20 topics have been started, but none has been finished. This is where the so-called MVP, the Minimum Viable Product, comes into play. We ask ourselves what we have to do to get the “cow out to pasture”. And then let the cow graze for now and we can think about what we will do with the cow next month. And then when I press the green button, not everything is ready, but it’s ongoing and we can cultivate little by little. And this cultivation process should actually never stop.   

The story of digitalisation is not finished, so a PIM can never be finished either.  

To conclude: What is the most important advice you would like to give to product information managers? 

Marc Kulow: I think the most important thing is that product information management is not just a PIM system. Product information management is PIM system plus digitisation strategy.   

A PIM system provides the technical requirements, but just because it is there, it does not necessarily bring the added value that a company needs. It must also be implemented well, the data must be maintained and processes must be implemented so that the company can ultimately derive added value from it.   

Katharina Czerner: Product information management projects are demanding. Poorly organised, they take longer and end up being more expensive than planned. The introduction in the departments, the training of the users or the user support are often neglected.   

Many companies benefit from using the experience of a reliable consulting partner to make faster progress and avoid mistakes.  

In our German webinar “How to make your PIM project successful – a ruthless look at 8 avoidable mistakes!” Katharina Czerner and Marc Kulow talk about eight critical stumbling blocks in the preparation and implementation of PIM projects and how to avoid them.  



Your information package – free of charge and without obligation!

  • Case Studies

  • Interesting articles about PIM
  • Checklist System Requirements