How to prepare for PIM + DAM integration

This article assumes you already have Product Information Management and Digital Asset Management systems you want to integrate. If you don’t have either of these systems yet, start with our ultimate guide to integrating PIM and DAM instead.
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Download the guide

Know your goals for PIM-DAM integration

As a marketing or creative operations professional working in retail, you know that integrating PIM + DAM will fast-track content workflows and deliver higher efficiency. But where do you start with PIM-DAM integration? And when 66% of software projects end in failure, how can you make sure yours is successful?

We’ve seen a lot of retailers create hyper-efficient content workflows by integrating PIM and DAM. But every organization is different and there’s no one-size-fits-all approach.

Before you can even start thinking about the detail and practicalities of integrating PIM and DAM, you need to think about the bigger picture. What do you want to achieve and why?

Any software integration should support clear business objectives.

These might be strategic objectives for the whole organization – that have been cascaded to your team – like cutting costs by 25-75%

Or they could be team goals, such as reducing the manual effort involved in printed catalog production, so you can reallocate in-demand resources to other strategic priorities – such as increasing content for digital platforms.

Automating catalog design with Adobe + DAM + PIM  

Let’s look at a common example of what you can achieve by integrating a Product Information Management solution with a Digital Asset Management system.  
If you’d like to streamline catalog or brochure creation, you can create a semi-automated workflow by integrating PIM + DAM + Adobe CC.
You simply need to set up a template in the Adobe InDesign plug In EasyCatalog and tag the fields in the template to the data source so that product information will be automatically pulled from your PIM and digital assets from your DAM. This creates a basic layout in seconds, which means you save time and money on design because your designer simply needs to update the content from the data source, instead of manual editing all the changes.
And because the PIM and DAM are your single sources of truth for all things product-related – constantly in sync – you know the content will be perfectly up-to-date – saving endless manual checks and cross-referencing.
Publication Organiser is a very popular integration for our clients and we’ve seen it slash catalog production time from weeks to days. It’s an example of Content Orchestration and we’d be very happy to help you with it.
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Assemble your PIM-DAM dream team

It’s very important at this early stage to think beyond your immediate team. PIM and DAM integration might be ideal for you in – say – the marketing team. But what about your e-commerce team? Your app content creators? Your packaging designers? Use this opportunity to think beyond organizational siloes that could be holding you back. Thinking big delivers bigger benefits. 

Next, think about who else needs to be involved to make this project a success?

Integrating PIM and DAM for your retail software integration is a complex undertaking – and there are lots of angles that need to be considered and covered. You may want to include:

  • A business analyst – to determine the needs and scope of the software integration
  • A rep (key user) from each team that will be impacted – they’re closest to the software and workflows, therefore key stakeholders in any proposed integration
  • A DevOps Engineer – especially if your integration is going to involve a bespoke integration between any of your back office applications.
  • An external software consultant – to help guide you through the process using their expertise in different software solutions, integrations and workflow opportunities
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Map existing processes and pain points

Once you’ve thought about what you want to achieve through PIM and DAM integration, you can begin thinking about what that looks like in practice.

A great starting point is to map and assess your current workflow. Ask your creative teams what barriers they face in their day-to-day work. What do they think causes delays, wastes money, and reduces productivity? What would they love to see fixed through your software project? 

Solving these daily frustrations isn’t just a great way to plug leaky processes, and save time and money. It’s also going to make your creative team happier to endure any disruption that new software and workflows cause – which makes life easier all round!

Once you’ve collected ideas and requirements, you can use the MoSCoW framework to start building a scope of work. The MoSCoW framework documents what your integration project:

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This makes sure everyone is aligned and manages stakeholder expectations about what the project will deliver. It also helps control costs and schedule, by making sure there are no unexpected requests during the project.

You should also think about other integrations at this point. In our experience, organizations typically integrate multiple software solutions to create a holistic content creation ecosystem.

Seize the moment for faster time to market
Discover why NOW is the right time for retail to prioritize PIM-DAM integration

Assess your current PIM and DAM

Your integration options will differ, depending on the nature of your current Product Information Management and Digital Asset Management solutions. Some of the technical factors that might impact your integration plans include:

  • Whether your solutions are on-premises, in the cloud, or a mix of both – cloud-based software is typically easier to integrate than on-premise solutions
  • Whether your solutions are managed in-house or by the software vendor – managed services may include support for integration, reducing the burden on your in-house resources
  • What software integrations your existing solutions support – many DAM and PIM products have built-in integrations for commonly connected tools

Based on what opportunities your existing software affords, you may decide to stick with what you already have. Or you may want to upgrade to more advanced solutions to better support your ambitions.

Make decisions about data

It might be a little early to start making decisions about data but we’d be remiss if we didn’t at least mention data management here.

Both DAM and PIM are databases – and they’ll both contain data about your products – such as product name, ID number, etc. However, there’s no guarantee they’ll reference that data in the same way.

What your PIM calls a ‘product ID’, your DAM might call an ‘item identifier’. Whilst your PIM might break products down into individual SKUs, your DAM might have a broader overview at the product level.

This is a problem when you’re trying to make this information match up and sync. So – at some point early in the integration process – you will need to make some decisions about data. Consider what you need to sync and how you’re going to make it consistent across the two platforms.

This is where having expert IT support can really help – whether that’s from your in-house IT team, your software vendors, or an external IT consultant. Now is the time to draw on tech expertise to lay firm foundations for your desired workflow.

You will also want to start thinking about the type of digital assets you’ll need for your workflow. For example, different image crops for different platforms and purposes  – thumbnails, hero images etc – as well as file formats, colour profiles, resolution etc.

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Software implementation projects have a lot riding on them. Not only the time and money invested in them – but the hopes and expectations of your colleagues too.

Put in the groundwork described above – and surround yourself with the expertise you need – and your PIM-DAM integration has a better chance of being on the right side of that 66% failure rate.

Checklist PIM-DAM integration

  • Determine which teams could benefit from PIM and DAM integration. For example: marketing, product management, design, packaging, buying, sales, traffic management
  • Create a project team comprising reps (key users) from each team, plus IT experts
    • Decide whether to involve an external IT consultancy
  • Establish integration goals. Consider:
    • Organisational strategic goals
    • Operational team goals
  • Map existing processes and pain points
  • Assess opportunities for integration with existing back office (PIM, Planning) or front office software ( web cms, dealer or distributor portal, pressroom).
  • Ideate your ideal workflow to achieve project goals
    • Decide whether existing software is suitable or needs replacing
  • Refine your project scope using MoSCoW framework
  • Begin the  process of data mapping
  • Think about digital asset requirements for your workflows

To begin making the business case for PIM+DAM integration, check out our article on the key financial and operational benefits of integrating PIM with DAM.

Ready to kick off your integration project? Qonqord has over 10 years of experience integrating PIM + DAM for retailers. If you’d like to lean on our expertise to improve your project outcomes, contact our team for a sparring session.



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