|This article assumes that you already have Product Information Management and Digital Asset Management systems that you want to integrate. If you don’t have any of these systems yet, start with our ultimate guide to integrating PIM and DAM .|
As a marketing or creative operations professional who works in retail, you know that integrating PIM + DAM will speed up content workflows and deliver increased efficiency. But where do you start with PIM-DAM integration? And if 66% of software projects end in failure , how can you make sure yours is a success?
Know your goals for PIM-DAM integration
We have seen many retailers create hyper-efficient content workflows by integrating PIM and DAM. But every organization is different and there is no one-size-fits-all approach.
Before you can even think about the details 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 must support clear business objectives.
These can be strategic goals for the entire organization, such as cost savings of 25-75%.
Or it could be team goals, such as reducing the manual effort involved in producing print catalogs so you can allocate resources to other strategic priorities, such as enriching content for digital platforms.
|Automate Catalog Design with Adobe + DAM + PIM |
Let’s look at a common example of what you can accomplish by integrating a product information management solution with a digital asset management solution. For example, if you want to streamline the creation of catalogs or brochures, you can create a semi-automated workflow by integrating PIM + DAM + Adobe CC.
Simply set up a template with the Adobe InDesign plug-in EasyCatalog set up and tag the fields in the template to the data source, automatically pulling product information from your PIM and digital assets from your DAM.
This way, you create a basic layout within seconds, which means you save time and money on design because your designer only has to update the content in the data source, instead of manually editing all the changes. And because the PIM and DAM are your single source of truth for everything related to products – constantly in sync – you know the content will be perfectly up-to-date – eliminating endless manual checks and cross-references.
This is a very popular integration for our customers and we have seen it reduce catalog production time from weeks to days. Our platform Publication Organizer is a great example of Adobe InDesign automation. The platform integrates PIM, DAM and Adobe InDesign and allows fully automatic creation of (multilingual) brochures and catalogs without having to hire designers.
Put together your PIM-DAM dream team
It is very important at this early stage to think beyond your immediate team. PIM and DAM integration may be ideal for you, for example, in the marketing team. But what about your e-commerce team? You app content creators? Your packaging designers? Use this opportunity to think beyond the organizational silos that might be holding you back. Thinking big brings bigger benefits.
Then consider who else needs to be involved to make this project a success?
Integrating PIM and DAM to integrate your retail software is a complex undertaking – and there are many angles to consider and address. You might want to organize the following:
- A business analyst – to determine the needs and scope of software integration
- A representative (lead user) from each team affected – they are closest to the software and workflows, and therefore key stakeholders in any proposed integration
- A DevOps engineer – especially if your integration involves a custom integration between one of your back office applications.
- An outside software consultant – to help you through the process using their expertise in various software solutions, integrations and workflow capabilities
Once you’ve thought about what you want to accomplish with PIM and DAM integration, you can start thinking about what that looks like in practice.
A good starting point is to map and assess your current workflow. Ask your creative teams what barriers they face in their daily work. What do they think causes delays, wastes money and reduces productivity? What would they like to see solved by your software project?
Solving these daily frustrations is not only a great way to close leaky processes and save time and money. It will also make your creative team happier to weather any disruption caused by new software and workflows – making life easier everywhere!
Once you have gathered ideas and requirements, you can use the MoSCoW framework to build a scope of work. The MoSCoW framework documents your integration project:
● MUST do
● SHOULD do
● COULD do
● WON’T do
This ensures that everyone is on the same page and manages stakeholder expectations of what the project will deliver. It also helps control costs and schedule by ensuring there are no unexpected requests during the project.
You also have to think about other integrations at this point. In our experience, organizations typically integrate multiple software solutions to create a holistic ecosystem for content creation.
|Seize the moment for faster time-to-market Discover Why NOW is the right time for retail to prioritize PIM-DAM integration|
Your integration options will vary depending on the nature of your current Product Information Management and Digital Asset Management solutions. Some of the technical factors that may affect your integration plans:
- Whether your solutions are on-premises, in the cloud or a combination of both, cloud-based software is typically easier to integrate than on-premises solutions
- Whether your solutions are managed internally or by the software vendor – managed services can include support for integration, reducing the burden on your internal resources
- What software integrations support your existing solutions – many DAM and PIM products have built-in integrations for commonly connected tools
Based on the capabilities of your existing software, you may decide to stick with what you already have. Or maybe you want to upgrade to more advanced solutions to better support your ambitions.
Making decisions about data
It may be a bit early to make decisions about data, but we would be remiss if we did not at least mention data management here.
Both DAM and PIM are databases – and they both contain data about products – such as product name, ID number, etc. However, there is no guarantee that they will refer to those dates in the same way.
What your PIM calls a “product ID,” your DAM can call an “item ID. While your PIM may break down products into individual SKUs, your DAM may have a broader view at the product level.
This is a problem when trying to align and synchronize this information. So – at some point early in the integration process – you have to make some decisions about data. Consider what you need to sync and how you are going to make this consistent across the two platforms.
This is where expert IT support can really help – whether it comes from your internal IT team, your software vendors or an outside IT consultant. This is the time to leverage technical expertise to lay a solid foundation for the desired workflow.
You’ll also want to think about the type of digital assets you need for the workflow. For example, different image cuts for different platforms and purposes – thumbnails, hero images, etc. – as well as file formats, color profiles, resolution, etc.
Checklist PIM-DAM integration
- Determine which teams can benefit from PIM and DAM integration; For example: marketing, product management, design, packaging, procurement, sales, traffic management
- Create a project team consisting of representatives (lead users) from each team, plus IT experts
- Decide whether to hire an outside IT consulting firm
- Set integration goals. Consider:
- Organizational strategic 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).
- Devise your ideal workflow to achieve project goals
- Decide if existing software is appropriate or needs to be replaced
- Refine your project scope using the MoSCoW framework
- Begin the process of data mapping
Software implementation projects involve a lot. Not only the time and money invested in it, but also the hopes and expectations of colleagues.
Lay the foundation 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.
Check out our article on the key financial and operational benefits of integrating PIM with DAM To start making the business case for PIM+DAM integration.
Ready to start your integration project?
The Qonqord team has more than 10 years of experience integrating PIM + DAM for retailers. If you would like to take advantage of our expertise to improve your project results, please contact with us.