What to choose for data management: PIM vs MDM

May 13, 2019
5 min read
What to choose for data management: PIM vs MDM

At first glance, MDM and PIM are pretty much the same, as both solutions are designed to facilitate business to manage the data. However, while MDM is about managing the wide scope of data fr om various sources, PIM or product information management software is just about managing more specific product data. Therefore, it is easier to implement PIM solution than to deploy MDM which requires larger enterprise-wide integration.

If to go into details, MDM, which stands for Master Data Management, is designed for centralized master and reference data storage and distribution. The data is sourced from various domains and processed in a way to create consistent information available for all employees in the company.

Unlike MDM, product information management system is designed to collect, store and distribute product-specific data only. In other words, PIM software may be called an MDM’s subsystem.

Being part of a more complex MDM system, it is easier to implement business-driven PIM software. Besides, product information management software requires fewer resources than MDM, which is about the IT-driven initiative that required company-wide deployment.

About MDM and PIM in details
MDM’s definition and benefits

MDM is a combination of tools and processes for on-going master and reference data management. Master data means crucial information about customers, products, services, personnel, technologies, materials, etc. MDM systems allow for collection, processing, refining, distribution of the above said data across multiple analytical and operational systems to facilitate the company to carry out various activities.

MDM’s goal

As it can be seen from the definition MDM systems allows covering a broad range of data domains. Therefore, many resources are required to deploy and support such systems. However, they will be able to serve the needs of various departments and to achieve multiple business goals.

The company will be able to enjoy the following benefits by deploying MDM:

Reduce a degree of complexity resulting from business expansion and globalization effect;
Enjoy data consistency and facilitate various business activities;
Provide all parties concerned to introduce changes into data in specific areas and to ensure that the said amendments are available in other areas of interest;
Improve the analysis with refined data;
Ensure that consistent data is used across multiple platforms and tools;
Ensure that compliance regulations are met.
PIM’s definition and benefits

PIM means a software-based solution providing the tools and capabilities to collect, process, store, enrich product-related data and deliver to the end users through different distribution channels.

In other words, product information management system is an interim system that sources various types of data (numeric, text, images, and videos) from various input sources (ERP, CRM, any other customer/supplier-related data pools) to centralize, process and deliver it to the end users (POS, mobile apps, e-commerce, print, etc.) fully complied with the requirements to its quality and accuracy.

PIM’s goal

The ultimate goal of PIM solution is to deliver accurate and quality data to the end user whether via printed materials or in digital form. The core advantage of PIM as compared to data management with habitual spreadsheets is that it allows to eliminating any redundant operations with data collecting, arrangement, and processing. Moreover, product information management software can be fully integrated into any eCommerce system. Therefore, it can be easily used by data distributors, eCommerce managers, and marketers. As it’s PIM requires fewer assets to be deployed is it more convenient in use compared to MDM and, thus, provides the returns faster.

From the definition above, one may state that the PIM solution includes three key features, namely:

Data collection, which means that the PIM software is able to aggregate data from various sources like DBs, CRMs, ERPs, etc. in to a single centralized data pool, wh ere it can be refined and ranked in accordance with its priority to be smoothly delivered to end users or integrated in to end data sources like printed catalogs.

Data enrichment which means further data processing and refining following its accumulation. This means that the collected data can be processed, refined, and supplemented by marketers and product managers with custom descriptions, specifications, translations, additional images or videos, etc. to comply with the requirements for its further publication.

Data publication: Finally, PIM allows for easy publication of the enriched data via any type of distribution channel, namely e-platforms, web-based or mobile apps, other digital marketing tools. The right tools integrated with product information management system allows the end data users may create perfect brochures, catalogs, and other marketing material in one click.

The companies that use PIM solutions may enjoy the following benefits:

Refined, accurate, high-quality product-related data;
Easy and smart management of catalog and product information;
Absence of redundant tasks and streamlines cooperation;
Improved overall performance;
Reduced new product lead time;
Brand identity across markets and POSes;
Easy scalability to new locations;
Improved sales thanks to boosted conversions;
Reduced return of goods.
MDM or PIM: Choosing the right solution for a particular business

As we have already noted, the business may deploy either MDM or PIM, as both deliver tools to manage data, namely to collect, process, enrich, store, and distribute information among various end users. Both systems can be viewed by business as a common source of consistent information that helps management to make key managerial decisions and keeps company affairs in synch when marketing the product. The question is what solutions to choose to deliver more benefits to a specific company.

Much depends on your ultimate goal. If your company is going to improve sales, manage effectively more SKUs, reach new distribution channels or target markets, then it will be probably better for you to deploy cost-effective, product-centric PIM, which delivers better ROI as well. Besides, PIM tools are directly linked to eCommerce platforms, POS systems, mobile apps, print tools.

If your company is dealing with multiple data domains including, among other things, customer, supplier, financial, staff data, etc., MDM will be the right choice. Besides, MDM requires more resources for implementation, although delivering wider data coverage.

For more information about effective data management, you may check our recent blogpost.