Complete PIM Implementation Roadmap: Six Key Stages for Seamless Deployment

This article was reviewed and updated on May 10th, 2023

A successful PIM implementation project is not a one-size-fits-all approach. It must be tailored to meet each business's unique needs. Learn about PIM implementation best practices to ensure seamless integration and drive business growth.

How do you implement a PIM system?

Managing accurate and consistent product information becomes increasingly tricky. Especially when companies grow their product catalogs and sales channels. Implementing a PIM can help you streamline product data management and improve the customer experience. However, PIM implementation can be a complex process that requires careful planning and execution. This blog post will explore the roadmap for a successful PIM implementation highlighting six critical stages for seamless deployment. You will learn experts’ insights and PIM implementation best practices.

PIM Implementation Stage 1: Pre-implementation Analysis

People involved: Project manager, system architect, product owner
Outcome: A functional timeline for the project and PIM implementation

Pre-implementation analysis allows you to determine the scope of PIM customization so your business requirements will be met. During this stage, you and your tech partner will:

  • Design the information architecture.
  • Map export attributes for internal systems (like WMS, ERP, etc.) and external marketplaces (like eBay, Amazon, etc.).
  • Define functional and non-functional requirements.
  • Plan the process of migrating product data from your current systems.
  • Determine the roles and permissions of individual users.
  • Define the project objectives and the expected outcome of the PIM implementation.

A pre-implementation analysis will help you to assess the project's scope, cost, and duration. As a result of this step, you'll get a functional design of the system that includes the following:

  • The range of PIM customization to your business requirements.
  • A labor intensity estimation.
  • An implementation schedule.
  • A list of functional and non-functional requirements.
  • Criteria for verifying project assumptions, i.e. key performance indicators (KPIs).

PIM Implementation Stage 2 - Project Organization

People involved: PHP developer, system architect, systems administrator, product owner
Outcome: Project launch

This is the time for your technical partner and their team to set up and test the development environment, assign tasks, and manage the work. This stage ensures all stakeholders know the project's goals, objectives, and the precise implementation timetable. Upon its completion, each team member, regardless of their role, should have a complete set of resources necessary to begin work on the PIM implementation.

Here are some PIM implementation best practices during the project organization stage to follow.

  1. Define project goals and objectives clearly so stakeholders understand the expected outcomes.
  2. Assemble a cross-functional team to ensure all relevant departments and individuals are involved in the project.
  3. Create a detailed project plan with timelines and milestones to track progress and stay on schedule.
  4. Establish open lines of communication to promote collaboration and ensure everyone knows all project updates and changes.
  5. Allocate sufficient resources, including budget, time, and personnel, to guarantee that the project is adequately supported.

PIM Implementation Stage 3 - Development

People involved: Developers
Outcome: PIM tailored to your business requirements

In this phase, developers begin adjusting a PIM system according to the previously established list of requirements. Depending on the project scope and your business needs, this stage may include activities such as:

  1. Creating a product model and product-related objects.
  2. Exporting product data to external systems (such as WMS, ERP, etc.).
  3. Creating dedicated components.
  4. Hiding redundant functionalities and any unneeded features.
  5. Migrating product data (including graphics),
  6. Structuring of user roles and permissions.

At the end of this phase, you should get a pre-configured, ready-for-deployment PIM system and set up the production environment. However, before this happens, the system must pass a set of tests.

PIM Implementation Stage 4 - Testing

People involved: PHP developer, tester
Outcome: PIM prepared to test with users

The tasting phase's purpose is the operational validation of all designed PIM features. Your IT partner will add several products to the system to accomplish this. Then, step by step, they will test all functionalities, integrations, data migrations, and so on.

Testing lets you validate not only your PIM system's correct operation; it also lets you check the product information's compatibility and efficacy. This stage is an excellent time to confirm that all project assumptions made during the pre-implementation analysis have been met.

PIM Implementation Stage 5 - User Onboarding

People involved: System architect, product owner, PIM system users
Outcome: PIM ready to implement

Implementing PIM is not enough to effectively manage product information. How you familiarize users with the new solutions will influence their attitude toward it. It will also impact their overall productivity. As a result, proper user onboarding is essential for the PIM to fulfill its role.

Training employees to use PIM before the system is fully implemented in a production environment is a good practice. This method raises the likelihood of detecting and correcting system flaws that might otherwise go unnoticed by testers. Therefore, consider onboarding time as an additional testing phase with real PIM users.

PIM Implementation Stage 6 - Production Launch

People involved: PHP developer, project manager, product owner, IT department representative
Outcome: A ready-to-use PIM system

After passing its tests, the PIM system can be put into production. The production launch is the final stage of the PIM implementation process. It entails installing and setting your PIM in production as well as arranging the infrastructure (i.e. hosting or a public cloud).

During this step, the implementation team may require access to technical documentation, details of the PIM system’s integration with other running systems, necessary access and permissions, and other resources. Therefore, involving a person from your IT department in this phase is an excellent idea. After performing some tests, your tech partner will finally run the PIM system, and your staff can begin using it.

Product Information Management Implementation: 6 Best Practices

  1. Define your business objectives and goals for the PIM implementation project
  2. Evaluate your current product data management processes and identify areas for improvement.
  3. Conduct a thorough analysis of your existing data sources and identify the gaps a PIM system can fill.
  4. Engage with stakeholders from different departments and involve them in the PIM implementation process.
  5. Develop a comprehensive project plan with realistic timelines and milestones.
  6. Prepare your product data for migration to the new PIM system, including data cleansing and standardization.

How much does PIM implementation cost?

The cost of implementing a PIM system depends on many individual factors. These factors can include the size of the business, the complexity of its product offerings, the number of data sources to be integrated, and the level of customization required for the PIM solution. The cost can also vary based on the involvement of external consultants or in-house IT resources in the implementation process. However, it is an investment that will result in significant cost savings in the long term by streamlining processes, improving data accuracy, and enhancing the customer experience.

Why implement a PIM system?

Consider product information management as a process, not a one-time project. You’ll reap the maximum benefits from your new system. PIM implementation is many companies’ first step toward digital transformation.

Your staff should be able to adapt a new system quickly to the company's unique challenges and goals. Even after the PIM implementation, it’s worthwhile to continue developing the process and adhering to appropriate product information management principles. Stay in touch with your IT partner and get a guide on improving PIM for internal procedures. This approach will quickly pay off in terms of boosting your employees' productivity and improving sales in various channels.