Why Product Information Management is Becoming Critical

In the field of digital asset management, we often talk about the importance of having a ‘single version of the truth’. By this we mean that one objective of having a robust digital asset management system is to ensure that marketers and other employees and business partners use the right versions of marketing content assets.

It’s equally important to have a single version of the truth when in comes to product information. Unfortunately, creating and maintaining accurate product information is becoming more difficult, time-consuming, and costly, particularly for large enterprises with extensive product portfolios.One reason that product information management (PIM) is becoming more complex is product proliferation. As companies seek to appeal to an increasing number of niche markets, the number of products offered can grow significantly. Enterprises that operate internationally also often find that they must expand their product lines to compete effectively in diverse markets.

Managing product information is also complex because many business functions and technology systems across the enterprise require product-related data. These functions and systems typically include:

  • ERP systems
  • Web content management systems
  • E-commerce systems
  • Marketing technology systems (digital asset management, campaign management, etc.)
  • Call centers
  • Accounting/finance

Because of this widespread need, most organizations have product information spread across numerous information systems. Recent industry research suggests that 57% of manufacturing companies and 38% of retailers use 4-10 separate information systems to create, manage, and/or store product information.

This splintered approach to product information management creates duplicative and inefficient work processes, generates excessive costs, and most important, it leads to a lack of confidence in the accuracy of product information. In a recent survey by Ventana Research, only 15% of respondents said they are very confident in the quality of their product data, and only 42% said they completely trust the information used in the PIM processes in their organization. In business-to-business companies, confidence is even lower, with only 19% of respondents indicating that they completely trust their product information.

The use of dedicated technology systems to support product information management is relatively new. In the Ventana Research survey, only 26% of respondents said they had begun a PIM initiative, and only 17% said they are using commercial PIM software. However, these circumstances are poised for change. Sixty-four percent of survey respondents said that product information management is important to their organization, and 57% said they plan to change how they manage product data.

In future posts, I’ll discuss some of the major benefits of implementing a robust product information management system.

This post was previously published on the ADAM Software blog. . .

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Author:Jan Dejosse

CMO - ADAM Software

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