Open Source (and its closely related brother: Open Core) has recently seen a surge of interest as business owners and developers have discovered the benefits of working with (and contributing to) open-source systems. But is it relevant for PIM as well? Open Source PIM solutions offer several advantages and can be relevant for businesses seeking a flexible, cost-effective, and customisable PIM system.
What is an Open Source Product Information Management System?
Choosing the best Product Information Management system should not begin by listing companies or doing our Quickscan but with a fundamental question: should you choose an open-source or a Software as a Service (SaaS) PIM system?
Maybe you didn’t think about this until now or encountered this issue while revising software specifications. What does it mean that a Product Information Management system is open-source, and what are its benefits and disadvantages for your company?
We’re here to help you by explaining what an open-source Product Information Management system means when managing the product and catalogue information of any retailer or eCommerce business.
What Exactly Is PIM?
A Product Information Management (PIM) system is used to collect, enrich, optimise and publish product information online in one place. This gives a lot of advantages to getting article information in order when it is used in multiple systems (omnichannel).
Managing information such as product descriptions, colours, images, videos, dimensions, and manuals is more efficient via a PIM than separately in each system or with Excel files. Your webshop and other systems retrieve this data from the PIM and display the correct product information. More information can be found in this article as well.
Why PIM and not Excel?
Do you like Excel? Probably you do (and even if you do not like it, you are probably using it anyway). Excel is free and flexible, but it also has its disadvantages. Excel has limitations in version management, quality control and linking to multiple systems. Why not transfer its best features to a Product Management System? So that you can effectively edit, delete and enrich product content without worrying about constant data refreshing problems or performance?
What is an Open Source PIM?
Open-source software means that users can access the source code and make any changes, additions, connections and customisations they want. Of course, this task is not simple and requires specialised developers with knowledge of the development language and the specific system. This holds even more true when it involves a delicate system like Product Information Management, which handles many references, channels, platforms and materials.
Free access to the code implies the license is free, but working with open-source systems also comes with a cost. There will be no licensing costs, and your team will be free to modify the code to the taste or requirements of your company (of course, within legal limits). But if you wish to add new features or extensions, these plugins (and enabling their features) will frequently have a cost.
Types Of Open Source PIM
The open-source Product Information Management systems belong to the most modern and recently created PIMs, aimed at businesses that like to work with cutting-edge technologies. Typically, these systems offer complementary services such as Asset Management and Web Content Management to complete users’ experience.
Here are organisations that work with Open Source PIM:
A well-known provider of Product Information Management (PIM) systems is Ergonode. Ergonode assists companies with streamlining and improving their procedures for managing their product data. Thanks to their robust PIM platform, organisations can effectively centralise, enhance, and disseminate product information across various channels. Ergonode offers organisations the tools they need to successfully manage their product data and promote development, emphasising usability, scalability, and flexibility.
To find more, click here.
The product experience firm Akeneo assists businesses in delivering more prosperous, attractive, dependable, and compelling product experiences across all owned and unowned channels, such as eCommerce, mobile, print, social commerce, points of sale, and other channels. Akeneo gives global brands, producers, distributors, and retailers the tools to develop omnichannel customer experiences that convert visitors into customers by supplying the community with best-in-class technology and knowledge.
To find more, click here.
Pimcore provides businesses with a unique platform that enables flawless data integrity and a customised client experience to secure the correct foundation. They provide ground-breaking software for the central administration of company data that is shown instantly on websites, online stores, applications, and digital B2C/B2B portals. You may work in a comfortable user interface with their modules for PIM, MDM, DAM, CDP, DXP/CMS, and Digital Commerce. Businesses may enhance their marketing, sales operations, digital commerce, and customer experience with the help of the Pimcore PlattformTM.
To find more, click here.
AtroCore UG (haftungsbeschränkt) is an independent software company based in Regensburg, Germany. They provide technical expertise, transparency, and excellent customer support to build lasting relationships with satisfied customers. Their services include implementation, consultation, migration, support, integration, and development for AtroPIM. Count on AtroCore UG as your dedicated partner for tailored solutions to achieve your business goals.
To find more, click here.
Pros And Cons Of An Open Source PIM
The primary key of an open-source system is that it requires the presence of a developer or team that knows how to implement and manage the PIM. If you are a retailer with a small group or lack specialisation in this code, operating an open-source can be tricky and carry many problems. In addition, the free thing should not mislead you because the more complete you want your tool to be, the more resources you will need (either a bigger IT team or new extensions, integrators and complementary programs).
- Customizability: With an open-source PIM, you can configure the software according to your product catalogue requirements. The system can be tailored to meet your unique needs and integrate seamlessly with your existing platforms.
- Extensibility: Open-source PIM systems often offer unlimited API connectors, allowing you to add and integrate any connectors you need, not just the ones provided by the PIM system. This enables you to connect and synchronise data with various external systems, expanding the capabilities of your PIM.
- Cost-effectiveness: Open-source PIM solutions typically have more affordable licensing options than proprietary systems. This can be advantageous for businesses with limited budgets, allowing them to access robust PIM functionality without significant financial investment.
- Expertise Required: Implementing and managing an open-source PIM requires a skilled IT team or developer with system knowledge. Operating an open-source PIM can be challenging and may lead to complications if your organisation lacks the necessary expertise or resources.
- Limited Extensions and Connectors: Finding compatible extensions and connectors for open-source PIM systems can be more challenging than proprietary solutions. The availability of third-party plugins and connectors may be limited, which could impact the ability to expand the functionality of your PIM system.
- Additional Costs for Complementary Plugins: While the open-source PIM itself may be accessible, certain functionalities and features may require additional plugins or complementary programs. These plugins often come at an extra cost, which needs to be considered when budgeting for your PIM implementation.
- Lack of In-person Training and Support: Open-source PIM systems may not always provide in-person or comprehensive support. Depending on the specific system, you may rely more on community forums and online resources for assistance, which could be a disadvantage if you prefer direct support from the software provider.
Benefits of a PIM
When an organisation is dealing with large quantities of products and a rapidly changing range that is used on multiple channels, the benefits of PIM are visible:
- A product is only entered once in one system.
- Products are all imported according to the same rules, which guarantees quality.
- The same optimised and complete information in every channel, with the right tone of voice.
- Less management and workforce to enter, less cutting and pasting.
- Less searching for information, there is more structure in the product data.
- In addition to digital, it can also be connected to print (via InDesign).
- Faster distribution of product information because systems are linked with a strict workflow.
- Prevent returns because a product’s information matches the customer’s expectations.