Product Information Management or 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 trading partners. PIM systems generally need to support multiple geographic locations, multi-lingual data, and maintenance and modification of product information within a centralized catalog to provide consistently accurate information to multiple channels in a cost-effective manner.
The increasing number of channels for product data (e.g., web sites, smartphones, tablets, print catalogs, electronic data feeds, bricks-and-mortar-stores) emphasized the need for product information management, as information kept by businesses is frequently scattered throughout disparate departments and held by certain employees or systems instead of being available centrally. Product data often exists in ERP systems, R&D PLM systems, spreadsheets and personal databases. Data are saved in various formats or are only available in hard copy form. Information is utilized in varying environments and contexts such as for detailed product descriptions with pricing info in product catalogs or for size and weight data for calculating freight costs in a logistics department. PIM in this example represents a solution for centralized, media-independent data maintenance for providing purchasing, production and communications data for repeated use on/in multiple IT systems, languages, output media and publications. It also provides a solution for efficient data collection, management, refinement and output.
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