The case for an enterprise open source Product Information Management

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The last couple of years, everyone who needed to manage products for a store, be it for a e-commerce site, book store or a retail store in general, has probably run into redundant product data. That is, the products are already in “one system”, but can not be exported in the needed format or are available in some sort of “silo” system. Additionally, you most likely had your experiences, or shall we say frustrations, with product data images, right? Once you “somehow” managed to get your data out and across to your “other” system (e-commerce shop, ERP, etc.) you again were faced with importing them in the right format.

We’ve all been there and we’ve all experienced the pain. Now, imagine your business depends on this workflow. So much, that any failure will cost your organization hard earned money. This is, when you start realizing that a centralized solution for storing all your product data, images and advertisement management, in short product collation, is the solution for your pain.

The reason for you to deploy a centralized product information management system are manifold. Research has shown that bad data has a severe cost impact on every industry in three main areas:

  • the cost of manual workarounds to source missing data and correct errors
  • administrative shrinkage costs in areas such as ordering and invoicing
  • lost consumer sales through shelf stock-outs.

Apart from bad data, consumers are demanding better product information and labeling for nutrition, health and lifestyle. Planned Legislation (in Europe) are also demanding that organizations provide further information related to packaging and the environment. In the future, bad data management, manual work around and pragmatic fixes employed, are no longer sustainable.

The case for a product information management system (PIM)

A product information management system, in short PIM, refers to processes and technologies focused on centrally managing information about products, with a focus on the data required to market and sell the products through one or more distribution channels. A central set of product data can be used to feed consistent, accurate and up-to-date information to multiple output media such as web sites, print catalogs, ERP systems, and electronic data feeds to other systems.

In general a PIM combines the following synonyms and usually combines them into one product;

  • Media Asset Management MAM) / Digital Media Management (DAM)
  • Product Data Management (PDM)
  • Product Resource Management (PRM)
  • Cross Media Publishing (CMP)

No doubt, that everyone who has come in touch with a lot of data, has surely also come in touch with one of the above product systems or some sort off. So far, only medium to large sized organizations have mainly come in contact with product information management systems, largely due to cost issues by in large enterprise based PIM providers.

PimSource – the open source alternative to product information management systems

The very same people that have already disrupted the Digital Asset Management with Razuna have taken upon the mission to build and make a Product Information Management System and publish it under an open source license. Thus giving the small and medium organizations the possibility to use a Product Information Management System that was previously out of their (financial) reach.

But price is not our main driver, since our team members are strong believers in open source and support different open source projects. We strongly believe, no we know, that giving people and organizations tools that will benefit them in their workflow and “getting the job done” is a far more gratifying and long lasting relationship then the short sighted “license sale”. Furthermore, our success with Razuna has shown that publishing and distributing a solution under an open source license model “simply works”.

The coming months will be very exciting as we are intensely developing PimSource and are preparing to bring you the very first real open source Product Information Management System. Stay tuned, by subscribing to the PimSource mailing list or follow Pimsource on Twitter.

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