Product information is crucial to the success of any digital business. It helps potential buyers understand what a product does, how it can benefit them, and whether it is the right fit for their needs. Without accurate and up-to-date product information, businesses risk losing sales revenue and damaging customer experience.

Having a strategy for managing product information can help ensure that your business has the trusted product information it needs to succeed. This guide will walk you through the essential steps of PIM implementation.

What is product data, and why should you care?

So what is product data? Product data is the specific details and descriptions of products related to a particular product. It includes information such as the product's name, description, price, images, and other associated attributes. Properly managing and using this data can be crucial to an organization's success, driving customer acquisition, incremental sales, and increasing the lifetime value of customers. However, if this data is inaccurate or incomplete, it can lead to negative consequences such as lost customers, brand reputation damage, and slower growth.

Here are key reasons why product data is so important:

  1. Help organizations better understand their products and how customers use them.
  2. Enable organizations to more effectively target potential customers and market in a way that appeals to them.
  3. Empower to keep track of products' performance over time, allowing for better decision-making about future product updates or changes.

This understanding can further help with product development, marketing, and customer service efforts.

So, it's crucial to have a system in place for managing product information effectively. This may include a dedicated team, software tools, or processes for gathering and verifying data. By taking these steps, an organization can ensure that its product data is accurate and up-to-date, making the most of this vital asset.

Why Do You Need a Product Information Management PIM System?

Product information about your products may come from various sources with different data structures. This makes it difficult to manage and track when you are dealing with millions of products and SKUs in a fastpaced environment. The challenge will only grow if you enable new customer touchpoints or expand to a new geography. PIM enables you to centralize and streamline product information effortlessly, allowing seamless distribution of up-to-date and accurate information across channels. However, before you can reap the benefits of a PIM system, you need to implement it properly.

First, you need to analyze your product data challenges and identify the requirements for your PIM system. For example, what type of product data do you need to manage? What are your business processes like? What are different integration points? What are your goals for PIM implementation? Answer these questions to determine the right PIM software for your business.

Once you’ve selected a PIM system, for e.g., Pimcore PIM, it’s time to set it up and configure it into your business environment. This process can be complex, so you need proper planning. It could save you a lot of time, money, and headaches down the road. Pimcore has no limits on what can be defined as products. This means that you can create a new class named Product with all the appropriate attributes for your needs, which is simple enough by going through Settings | Data Objects | Classes and creating this one-time setting. Planning your Pimcore PIM Implementation Implementing Pimcore PIM (on-premises) or Pimcore PIM (cloud), like any enterprise-wide software, is a significant task. Decision-makers responsible for planning, designing, and deploying Pimcore PIM like any other significant project must ensure the implementation goes off without a hitch! However, smaller organizations might only require one person to fill each role. There are likely many people in larger organizations who will take on PIM implementation initiative, so keep them all in the loop right from the initial phase. These roles include the following:

  • Business managers: Responsible for determining how your business will use Pimcore PIM. This includes mapping your processes to Pimcore PIM, deciding on customer values, and identifying customization scope.
  • Technical team: Responsible for implementing the planned customizations.
  • System admin team: Responsible for determining how Pimcore PIM will be deployed on the network and how users will access the system.
  • Project manager: Responsible for managing an enterprise-wide implementation project.
  • Sales and marketing team: Responsible for streamlining product content and implementing omnichannel and multichannel strategies.

Organizations looking to implement Pimcore PIM system may use one of three different services: an independent ISV or value-added reseller, consultant, or other organizations partnered with Pimcore who can help your company get started. We, at Minds Task Technologies, are a Pimcore partner and provide expert Pimcore services as needed.

Know Pimcore PIM Cloud Editions and Licensing

Pimcore PIM offers licensing options that cover implementations for small, to mid-level, to even very large organizations. Two main editions include:

  • Pimcore Community Edition: Freely available as a free Open Source Community Edition since its development began.
  • Pimcore Cloud Edition: It is the fastest deployment model of the Pimcore Platform.

pimcore-cloud-editions

Understand Pimcore PIM system requirements

Server Requirements
  • For production, a *nix based system is recommended
Webserver
  • Apache >= 2.4
  • Nginx
PHP >= 8.0
  • Both mod_php and FCGI (FPM) are supported
Database Server
  • MariaDB >= 10.3
  • MySQL >= 8.0
  • Percona Server (supported versions see MySQL
Features
  • InnoDB / XtraDB storage engine
  • Support for InnoDB fulltext indexes
Pimcore PIM language support
  • Support more than 20 languages.

Note

For detailed hardware and software requirements or specific product versions and that are supported, please contact our Pimcore certified experts.

What kinds of PIM customizations are supported?

Most enterprises want to customize the PIM software. More advanced PIM customization allows customers to tweak the functionality of core components by changing how they operate in certain aspects. For example, this could mean unlocking more product data value for an organization’s perspective or customizing the core components.

If you are just interested in customizing Pimcore PIM, here is what you need to know about solutions. You can customize your Pimcore PIM system, including:

  • Customize editing interface
  • Custom icons for objects
  • Create customized layouts
  • Customize the standard perspective
  • Customize functionalities

When you customize the Pimcore PIM system, you work with the default solution. This solution contains all the components in your system.

Pimcore PIM provides a set of web services and APIs that allow developers to write code. When code is written using supported methods, you can expect that it will continue to work when you integrate it into your organization.

We expect that you can do most of your customization with the tools in the application. Pimcore supports everything you do by using those tools because they apply changes to the core code of Pimcore PIM.

But, if the customizations don’t meet your needs, you can install Pimcore PIM and hire a developer to code your customizations. Either way, it’s good for you to understand supported customizations. If you need to invest in a solution that requires code, you should make sure that the code is written using only supported APIs. This helps you protect your investment in both Pimcore PIM and any solutions you get.

Developers who extend Pimcore PIM have a responsibility to follow the right methodology and best practices documented in Pimcore SDK.

Using best practices described in the SDK, you must test whether any of the changes you make to Pimcore PIM has the potential to break existing customizations. The goal should be that code customizations written using supported methods will continue to work when new versions or updates of Pimcore PIM are released. You benefit because you can upgrade to new versions with improved features without having your development team change their code each time.

Executing Pimcore Product Information Management PIMImplementation Process.

A PIM allows you to integrate information from different sources into one platform, organizing it coherently and seamlessly syndicating the data across multiple touchpoints. For example, suppose an e-commerce company wants their website or catalogs. In that case, they can easily access all products via PIM software with exclusive features, including pricing/currency conversions and unit measurements across languages depending on what’s needed by each business sector - whether that's UK English versus US Customary Measurements! This also means dynamic management over product data, including multimedia content, digital assets, and text descriptions.

These aspects about PIM and its uses are summarized in this diagram:

pimcore pim architcture

There are two separate environments as part of the PIM Implementation Process:

#1 Setting Test environment

The test environment is a restricted deployment of Pimcore PIM that needs to mirror the production environment as closely as possible. To do this, there are substantial similarities in hardware (processor, disk, and memory) technology platforms such as Windows Server or SQL Server. To create an appropriate environment for testing, it may require setting up Load Balancing (NLB) or clustering, installing and configuring Pimcore PIM components and applications, such as Email, workflows, customizations, and connectors, as well as installing any additional add-ons, plug-ins, or solutions particular to the deployment.

Virtualization technology has been used to accelerate the testing process. In a virtual environment, an administrator can perform their tasks more quickly and efficiently by serving them in isolation from other systems, which may slow things down or have different requirements for hardware resources like bandwidth access time (i/s). This not only helps with optimization but also ensures that any issues found during these tests won't affect day-to-day operations if they were introduced accidentally into your regular infrastructure.

#2 Setting Production deployment

This represents the deployment of Pimcore PIM that is used by all authorized users in the organization. The actual implementation is performed in the production deployment, and the administrator may use strategies that optimize implementation performance. For example, the administrator may move implementation code from the development or test environment to the production environment. The administrator then brings the production environment online, validates that the system is running well, and deploys Pimcore PIM for users as needed.

#3 Prepare to deploy

Make sure you have enough staff, resources, and time to dedicate to the implementation. As part of this phase, you must determine who will be involved in the deployment, designate the test deployment software that will be used to validate the deployment, and plan for potential failures.

You should also assess the current production environment for deployment suitability.

Additionally, it would help determine the acceptance criteria that will be used to decide whether to go forward with the production live.

#4 Determine the implementation strategy

To determine the implementation strategy, you need to answer the following questions:

  • What will be deployed?
  • What is the timeline for the implementation?
  • Who will validate the implementation?
  • Will there be a pilot or phased rollout?
  • Will there be a need to modify or mitigate your strategy and perform corrective actions to ensure required functionality?
  • What will be the plan for failure, backup, and recovery?

#5 Data protection and recovery

Review appropriate planning and prerequisite documentation for data protection and recovery startegy. Product documentation is instrumental in helping you scope the amount of preparation required for data security before you deploy.

#6 Ensure you have the latest technologies

For best results, verify that you have applied the latest version and update rollups not only for Pimcore PIM but for other dependent technologies such as server, operating system, and more.

#7 Determine the deployment plan and checklists

To successfully implement a new production system, you need to first have all of its features working correctly. This means performing validation tasks on the implementation environment. Then, when "go-live" day comes, it will operate as intended and be suitable for rolling out into the user base with no bugs or glitches in sight!

Fair warning, though - these steps might take up most if not every one-hour block during development time because there's always something left over after everything else has been done already (like testing). So make sure key stakeholders understand how important they really are by writing them down here:

  • Verify that the system is functional after the upgrade by performing these basic tests
  • Review the Setup log files for issues that may have occurred during the implementation
  • Verify server and organizations that were used are enabled
  • Validate applicable data in Pimcore PIM system
  • Validate all the integration as well as syndication point
  • Verify workflows against previous workflows
  • Update any workflow items affected by configuration or data model modifications

#8 Run test environment

We strongly recommend that you plan to run at least one test deployment before you move to your production environment. After running a test deployment, verify the product configuration by performing operations that you would typically use in your production environment. If you receive any errors while using Pimcore PIM in a test environment, make sure that you resolve them before upgrading your production environment.

  • Test all custom code, JavaScript, and custom reports (if applicable)
  • Test all integration processes (if applicable)
  • Test remote client and mobile app access and functionality
  • Test of third-party applications or extensions

#9 Validate the environment

Verify the newly deployed environment for stability and operation. This includes having a select set of users connect by using the Pimcore PIM application and using the system to perform all typical day-to-day tasks. In addition, make sure workflows and reports are functioning correctly and test that new features from the upgrade are also functioning well.

Once your new PIM infrastructure is up and running, you must verify the stability of both its operation as well as any errors or problems with workflows. To do this properly, we recommend having a select few users connect via Pimcore PIM application so they can use their day-to find out if everything functions correctly on features as per the desired business requirement.

#10 Run acceptance criteria and checklists

Execute the previously mentioned tasks on the new deployment. Based on the tests, a decision will be made to either implement or not implement Pimcore PIM in the production environment.

#11 User acceptance testing

After the test checklist is completed and the quality of the tasks is within acceptable limits, user acceptance testing can start. This involves a subset of all users, typically key users who carry out their typical day-to-day tasks against the system. These key users report any issues or unexpected behavior to the administration team for action.

User acceptance testing is the stage of software development where you make sure that all users can efficiently operate your application. To do this, a smaller group during beta-testing should be involved with key figures from IT department providing feedback on how the tasks are carried out against the system, so if there are any issues or unexpected behavior, they canbe immediately reported!

#12 Go live

Once you’ve been through discovery, requirements gathering, and configuration to get your system ready for testing, it is now time that the software is made available. The go-live process will allow us all a final stretch before we can call this project complete! Your team has helped throughout every part of implementing the marathon-sized project. They'll continue as one last task remains: deployment with end-user adoption assistance— shortly after which support transitions occur naturally (and smoothly).

The conclusion

If you're planning and designing an enterprise-wide Pimcore PIM implementation, make sure you have made all the necessary preparation in advance. It'll help you avoid common pitfalls and ensure your project goes off without too much challenges.

If you need further assistance, our certified Pimcore partner can address your concerns without any delay. Feel free to contact us with any questions or concerns you may have!

Related blog:6 Benefits Of Implementing A Product Information Management Solution In Your Business

Frequently asked questions
What is the Pimcore Platform?

Pimcore is a leading open-source digital platform that enables organizations to consolidate, enrich, and manage enterprise data to improve operational efficiency and deliver personalized experiences to customers. It offers integrated and centralized solution for PIM, MDM, DAM, CDP, DXP/CMS, and digital commerce to improve data reliability, reduce manual errors, and ensure faster time-to-market.

Pimcore platform is built to solve any data challenge and optimize omni-channel experience. It is consolidated in nature that empowers organizations with a single 'trusted version' of information (product, asset, and customer) to eliminate data silos, improve operational efficiency, boost customer experience, and minimize IT costs. Pimcore is easy to customize and scale, thus it costs you less time and money to execute new initiatives.

Pimcore runs on one of the leading technology stacks in the world. It’s built on a standardized, robust, modular, open, and service-oriented architecture – 100% API driven. You can deploy the Pimcore platform the way you want— on-premises deployment, global 24/7 access via the cloud, and SaaS. Pimcore partner ecosystem is quite strong, so you can get all types of support and assistance to make the most of this amazing platform.

Pimcore is an open-source platform. It is available as a Cloud Edition, on-premises Enterprise Edition, and free Open Source Community Edition. You can use the community edition free of cost and customize it as per your business requirements. Cloud & Enterprise editions come with additional features and support, including Service Level Agreements, Long Term Support, and Enterprise Extensions.

author-image
Sudhanshu Singh

Co-founder and CTO at Minds Task Technologies. Sudhanshu helps businesses bring their digital vision to life by delivering scalable technology solutions.

I’m a technologist, entrepreneur, and passionate about finding the next, new thing. From an IT geek to a co-founder of Minds Task Technologies, it has been an amazing journey of 15 years where I got myself neck-deep into coding, researching, resolving complex technical issues, and managing end-to-end projects. I have always been developer-first and entrepreneur-second.