PIM evaluation:
4 useful tips for selecting the right PIM system

PIM evaluation 4 tips

Anyone looking for PIM software today is faced with a wide selection, and every software provider naturally claims to have the best PIM available. When selecting a PIM, it’s not about identifying the supposed best in the market – it’s about finding the one that best suits your organization and has the greatest potential to advance your company’s overall strategy. Given the wealth of options, this nuance makes the selection process even more complicated.

With this in mind, we have created a guide to help you through the PIM evaluation process. It will support you with valuable practical tips to help you find the right PIM software for your company.

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Tip 1: Determine your current situation and create a catalog of requirements

As more companies embark their digital transformation journey, the importance of a clear and cross-departmental data strategy becomes increasingly apparent.

Various methods are available for this. One particularly promising method is Gartner’s Maturity Model, which compares the current status with a company’s strategic goals. From this, conclusions can be drawn for the evaluation and for all subsequent steps.

In relation to a PIM, the focus is primarily on the data model, which defines how the product data is structured in the system and linked and mapped with information and assets – and thus forms the foundation for all processes in product management, marketing or sales.

Once the status quo has been determined, a comprehensive roadmap for the PIM selection can be developed that clearly defines the responsibilities, goals and milestones to ensure that the project runs smoothly and efficiently. At the same time, a requirements catalog can be created on these discoveries, which ideally defines the criteria for the subsequent evaluation of the software solutions and providers in question. Questions such as “What are our current business requirements?” and “What do our future business requirements look like?” from the starting point.

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Tip 2: Research the software market and identify relevant providers

The second step of a PIM evaluation involves an intensive research phase to identify the relevant providers in the market. Directories of leading analyst firms can serve as a first point of reference, while more in-depth information can be found on the websites or can also be obtained by request.

The selection is based on general KPIs and ideally results in a shortlist of three to five candidates who can be invited to an introductory workshop. Decisive factors are, for example, the providers’ industry knowledge.

Generally speaking, PIM solutions that have a proven track record of success in your own industry are very likely to meet your own requirements. This aspect is particularly important in industries such as the automotive industry, healthcare or food retail, which have specific standards and rules that need to be taken into account when creating and modeling the data in the PIM system.

In addition, the number of implementations can provide information about how much market and industry experience a provider has as well as the product maturity of its solution. Many companies also pay attention to the proven use in their own geography, as country-specific requirements also play a role in the decision-making process.

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Tip 3: Carry out workshops and evaluate candidates

Once the shortlist has been established, the third step is to contact the eligible providers with an RFP (request for proposal) and invite them to a workshop where they present their solutions.

To ensure that the workshop days leave no questions unanswered regarding the suitability of a solution, the providers should be provided with a rough concept of the product data strategy, real or at least representative data sets and detailed descriptions of five to eight business use cases, with the task of configuring a so-called proof of concept (POC) in advance. This approach has the positive side effect that the presentations follow the same agenda, which ensures the comparability of the candidates in this evaluation phase.

Finally, it is advisable to create scorecards for a targeted evaluation of candidates during the workshop days. Each criterion on the scorecard should cover a key area of your company, be marked as required or flexible and be able to be rated numerically, for example from 1 to 5. Occasionally, a weighting can also be useful if, for example, certain requirements are particularly crucial for the product data strategy or the corporate strategy.

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Tip 4: Negotiate and deciside

Ideally, two candidates remain for the fourth and final step of the PIM evaluation. Before a final decision can be made, the price expectations must also fit. You should therefore ask the providers to submit offers with adjusted calculation conditions that also cover possible cost items in the future – for example, if more user licenses are required due to an acquisition or if new interfaces need to be developed for system extensions.

For a better negotiation basis, it is also advisable to ask the providers to arrange appointments with reference customers, preferably from the same industry. Of particular interest are the business benefits achieved and the experience with integration and implementation: Has the solution enabled greater efficiency in product information management; has the PIM improved data quality and increased sales?

Finally, the decision-making phase should also include a due diligence check for each candidate in order to carefully weigh up the costs and risks against the potential added value and thus find the option that promises maximum future viability and investment security.


Companies that want to introduce a (new) system for managing and maintaining their product data have to overcome a number of challenges both during the preparation of such a project and during its implementation. PIM projects are characterized by a very high level of complexity due to numerous dependencies throughout the organization.

The first step is therefore always to make this complexity, which must be described in a comprehensive product data strategy, transparent for everyone involved in the project. Only then can all relevant, i.e. current and future, business requirements be documented and compared with the possible solutions in the evaluation. Ultimately, with a view to the final decision, it is important that you not only look at the bare figures, but also consider soft factors – such as your gut feeling towards the provider as a digitization partner – when selecting the PIM system.

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