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Before buying product information management (PIM) software, think master data management (MDM)

We already have corporate sponsorship for buying product information management (PIM) software. Where should we start?

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So you're ready for buying product information management (PIM) software and don't know where to begin? The answer is the same for PIM, customer data integration (CDI), or any master data domain: identify your master data management (MDM) functional requirements. Everyone forgets about this one when they're in the market for PIM software. They secure executive sponsorship and go immediately to vetting all the vendors. But the critical step to gathering functional requirements ensures that the ultimate MDM technology will fit what your company needs.

For instance, before you even think about buying PIM software, you need to think about what type of security your MDM environment needs to support. What about the support of groupings (multiple products within a category) and hierarchies (for instance, products and categories within a brand)? And what about data cleansing and correction rules? Not all MDM systems support all of these functional needs. By identifying your functional needs and THEN talking to vendors, you'll be able to perform a rigorous and bullet-proof mapping exercise that will quickly narrow down the best PIM software for you.

This was first published in August 2008

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